“We wait in hope…” is an often cited conclusion to Christian prayer as well as a mantra to what is called “Eschatological Theology” which is a very big phrase reminding us that life is but a pilgrimage and we Christians anticipate the Lord’s return in glory to fully establish the Kingdom (reign) of God.
“Hope” is in short supply these days. The economy, presidential politics, inter-religious dialogue, the decline of organized religion of any sort within secular societies, poverty – and the list would continue the length of your arm: where do we live in hope? How do we live in hope? Why live in hope?
Hope must be based in fact, experience and trust if it is not merely a delusion. Take our dog, Abby. She knows that one of her humans is always neat and spotless and the other is me! She “waits in hope” for crumbs from the table to fall in her direction. She bases her hope upon her faith and her willingness to be patient and to expect what she knows is sure to happen.
I learn to “hope” by watching Abby. My faith in us, as a church and as a community, has to be based upon faith in God’s Holy Spirit guiding us and in the Lord’s promise that all history – including our story as a parish, is in God’s hands. I wait in hope because I trust Jesus to ultimately make things right more than I trust human structures or organizations.
Just as food from the table is inevitable (knowing me) so God’s intervention into our space, God’s love empowering God’s community, our growth in times of stress and distress – is certain. We wait in hope, and no one or nothing, as dark as the times may be, will take this away.