A message of hope

Saturday in the first week of Advent, Year B
05 December 2020

A message of hope

Hymn: My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood…(CPWI Hymnal # 456)

Refrain: On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand –

               all other ground is sinking sand…

Reflection: Thisfirst week of Advent began with promises of suffering, a darkened sun, a moon without light, falling stars, a shake-up in heaven, and a warning to stay awake and remain alert, given the unknown hour of the Lord’s return. 

Every generation has claimed to have seen signs of the coming of the end of the world around them. And, if we look at what is happening in the world around us today – ethically, spiritually, morally, economically, socially and politically – we could be forgiven for thinking that the end of the world is near. While we should not ignore these signs and times, instead of putting our faith in them, we should put our faith in the Word of God. For everyone who hears these words and acts upon them,  will be like a wise man who built his house on a rock.

So, if we put our hope in the Word of God and if we are obedient to His Word, we will be part of the change, able to share with others, our knowledge of the love of God and His saving grace, and help to create a world that is better today than it was the day before and  will be better tomorrow, than it is today.

Hope, according to the definition in the Oxford Dictionary  is,  “a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.” Aristotle said, “Hope is a waking dream.” John Piper, an American theologian and pastor, writes that, “Hope is like a reservoir of emotional strength”, while Psalm 42:5 states, “Why are you cast down…Hope in God…” 

If we take something from each of these definitions, we get a picture of what our daily lives should look like; people filled with hope, going about their business, facing their own “ups and downs” and helping others face and overcome their own difficulties.  Because of inherent frailties and different coping mechanisms, some of us might need external intervention, even professional help. But we all need to dig deep into that reservoir of emotional strength and be comforted by the words of  American gospel singer, Andrae Crouch: “Through it all…I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God…I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.”

Here we are at the close of the first week of Advent, mindful of the many challenges that we face in our daily lives and aware that no matter how desperate we perceive our circumstances to be, there are others who are worse off.  But, if we really want to be active participants in the ‘better world’ that we hope  and pray for, we must move past our fears and out of our comfort zones to confront a world in which there is too much indifference to the needs of others. We must lift up the downtrodden, heal bodies and minds both physically and spiritually, care for the aged, nurture the young and strive to create a more just and peaceful society. We are the ones who must sow order in chaos and hope in despairing hearts.

Let us be encouraged by the hope of which Edward Mote wrote in 1834, in hymn # 456 in the CPWI Hymnal:

My hope is built on nothing less

than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

no merit of my own I claim,

but wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

Meditation: “On Christ, the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

Prayer: Lord, give us that reservoir of strength that we need in these times. Let us offer praises to You in spite of whatever circumstances we battle, knowing that You are with us through it all. Amen.