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Wednesday Wondering - August 9, 2023

Scripture

Isaiah 43: 1 - 2

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”


Reflection

I have been thinking about this thing that we call hope and some days it seems elusive. I have to admit that there are times when I struggle with hope. I struggle with that it might mean in my life and I struggle with what it might mean in our world. The world just seems to be a mess in so many ways. We live in the midst of anger, hatred, marginalization and it seems as if we have forgotten how to talk to each other. We don’t listen to understand, it seems as if we only listen to respond and in responding there are so many who only speak words of anger and separation. How do we have hope in a world such as this and what might we actually hope for in this world? These are questions that weigh heavy on my heart, but then I remember this reading from Isaiah. This reading from Isaiah, which just happens to be the basis of the song “I Have Called You By Your Name,” which reassures us that God is with us and that we will come through the challenges that confront us. Agnostic Zetetic, a young advocate and activist, speaks to what I see as hope in the following way, "May we each find in ourselves the courage we forgot we have, to see the beauty we forgot is inside us, while battling the demons we forgot we can slay, on a battlefield we forgot we can win.” Hope is the knowledge that we can and will persevere and that deep conviction that no matter what we face, God is always with us. The poet Emily Dickenson wrote,

“Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all.”

Hope is that deep understanding that no matter what, we will continue. It is the understanding that this life is full of struggle, strife, challenge, grief, and deep sadness, yet in the face of all of this we will continue. Hope is the knowledge that when our strength fails, the strength of those around and the strength of God will carry us through to the other side. Hope is knowing that God always is with us, in the deepest of dark places and the most joyful of joyous places. It is knowing that God will never let us go, for God has called each of us by name and we are God’s. No matter what happens we are God’s and so we will persevere, we will come through these times of struggle, but we have to hope in God. In holding on to God’s hope we then are called to be that hope in the world. We are called to be that presence for others, to offer our strength when their’s might be failing. We are called to bring forth God’s world so that all may live in the knowledge and hope of a world that is based in; justice for all creation, peace, forgiveness, grace, and love. I believe this is what it means to live in the God’s hope.


Prayer

God of infinite hope, we ask that we come to know your presence with us throughout all that this life brings to us, the times of challenge and the times of joy. We ask that you give us the courage to know that, with you, we will persevere. Give us the strength to be your presence with others when their strength is waning, so that they too might know that they are not alone. Give us the wisdom to know that your hope is the hope in a world that is coming based in justice, peace, forgiveness, grace, and love, and let us see who we are called to be a part of your kingdom come. We ask all this in the name of the one who came to set the captives free, the one who brought hope to a hurting world, your son, Jesus. Amen.

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