Sunday, December 02, 2007

Lost Hope

In one of Tony Campolo’s books, he tells a story of a very dull village that got really excited about the news of a race. They came to the race very excited and prepared to run. The starter pistol sounded, they bounded off of the starting line, and took several strides then stopped to celebrate. Think about that for a while and you should get the connection to the life of a Christian. For this week of Advent, we celebrate Hope. The following passage from Romans is one of the texts for this week from the lectionary:
11And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
Romans 13
As Christians, we see ourselves as “saved” and speak of salvation as the past tense. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the peace of Christ that comes to a believer, but if we get stuck in this past tense, I don’t know that we can fully experience it. Paul is talking about the future in this verse. God has given us salvation- a concept that is past, present and future, but hope resides in a confidence in the future. Another lectionary text this week speaks of two men walking in a field, one will be taken and one left behind. This imagery is quite fearful.

But compare fear for a moment. When we sit alone in a house, paranoid of the noises outside, we fear. It is not a pleasant fear because hope is absent. We’re not confident of what is coming next. On the contrary, when sit perched atop the biggest hill on the thrill ride at the amusement park, or harnessed in for a bungee jump that same fear is exhilaration because even though the danger is real, we can be pretty confident in the eminent safety of our two feet firmly planted on solid ground once it’s over. Without a confidence in the future, without hope, we can’t experience joy, peace, or even true love. We get locked up in desperation and self-preservation. Look to the words of Paul this week from Romans as a source of Hope for the future. Work out your faith in fear and trembling, but know that God is God and our home is with him. May you have a week filled with Hope as we prepare for the arrival of the Christ.

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