November 29 Reflections

Ernest Becker is his book The Denial of Death, wrote, “The soberest conclusion that we could make about what has been taking place on the planet for about three billion years is that it is being turned into a vast pit of fertilizer.” You are not going to find that on a Hallmark greeting card. Those words are filled with despair, doubt, sourness about life on this planet. He wrote them in response to the silliness he thought existed in religion surrounding the hope of there being any life after this life on earth. Now I will agree there is a lot of silliness in religion. My hope is not based on religion. My hope is grounded in Jesus Christ, who came to show us what God is like. I believe that Becker is wrong, and I will know it in experience when I transition from this world to the next.

Hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in his faithfulness. There is hope that someday all pain, suffering and tears will be over, and everything will be made right. God has promised this in Revelation 21:1-4. That is a promise that someday all things will be made new; all things will be made right. This hope comes through Jesus Christ who is the Father’s yes to all his promises. “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)

I think hope is also for our day to day lives, not just some comfort for eternal life. I have hope that there is going to be a vaccine to fight against Covid 19. I have hope that race relationships will heal in our country and around the world. I have hope that justice will come for those enslaved in poverty. I have hope there will be a smooth transition to a new administration. I have hope that conflict in families will heal. I have hope that churches will be missional caring more about the mission of Jesus than about maintaining a religious club. I have hope that someday prejudice against people’s uniqueness will be eliminated so we can celebrate the image of God in all people. I have hope that the Minnesota Vikings will win the Super Bowl. Okay maybe not this year, but there is always next year. The hope for all of these points, other than the Vikings, is because of Jesus and his promise that some day all things will be made right and he invites us to live in that hope each day to bring that “rightness” to this world now.

This coming Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent. We are going to be thinking about hope and how it applies to our lives. Some passages to read: Romans 5:1-5;Isaiah 40:25-31; Revelation 21:1-7; 2 Peter 3:13.

Grace upon Grace,

Pastor Verlyn