The Rev. Dr. Stephen Bauman
For the great human family it is necessary to renew always the common horizon toward which we are journeying. The horizon of hope! This is the horizon that makes a good journey… The time of Advent that we begin again today returns us to the horizon of hope, a hope that does not disappoint because it is founded on the Word of God. A hope that does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints! He is faithful!
– Pope Francis
Over many months I’ve had numerous conversations in which people have expressed great perplexity at our current cultural moment. They’re agitated and confused, they say, bewildered by outrageous destructive weather; a cascade of record-breaking mass shootings; a broken political culture sinking into a bog of decaying values and character; nuclear saber-rattling; in addition to the daily revelations concerning harassment and abuse. I feel this bewilderment as well.
This reality frames the context for our everyday concerns, like the status of our careers, relationships and health. Anxiety ranks as our number 1 neurosis, which is really a variation on fear. We feel unsteady and vulnerable.
Advent arrives not a moment too soon to reignite our hope. That’s the principle engine of our prayer in this season—“A hope that does not disappoint…because the Lord never disappoints! He is faithful!”
Our task over these next weeks concerns our willingness to allow God to impregnate us with hope. That can seem a radical request, I suppose. But this hope holds the key to human flourishing in the midst of many adversities.
We remember that Jesus entered the human scene at a time that was at least as perplexing and challenging as our own. A consummate realist, that is, taking the world as it was, he nevertheless shined a light on the most life-affirming path into the future. That’s the path we’ve joined, and journeying forward we are drawn by the horizon of hope.
Hope is an audacious intervention under the circumstance. It’s a revolutionary commitment that we will not be conformed to present conditions, but instead become bearers of light and truth as we acknowledge that nothing in life or in death can separate us from God’s great love in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Prayer: Holy God, author of love and life, so fill us with your grace that hope will infuse our hearts and minds, binding us to a common purpose to love the way you do. Amen.