For What Do We Hope?

The sermon this week, Hopefully Hopeful, was based on I Peter 1:3-5. Here are some thoughts I had after reflecting on our service:

Faith, Hope, Love.

So what would it look like if we spent our time talking about Faith, Hope and Love, and nothing else. What would my day look like if I spent my time focused with an "attitude of hope?"

At 6:15am, I’m mostly regret. “Why am I awake?!”

After some food and coffee, I might taste a bit of hope.

But love… nope. Not yet.

Faith… well, it depends on what’s on the docket for the day.

But hope… that one is sneaky. I vacillate from one day to the next. I worry, and worry is like sin- it erodes that which is solid until you forget, or can't see anymore, the foundation on which you stand.

For what do you hope? That question is continuously on my mind, and I often find I answer it based on the temporary needs of the day.

Shouldn't we think about bigger things than that?

The biggest question in my daily discipline of faith is often… which of the three characteristics of God, Faith, Hope and Love, is the most characteristic in me at any given time; How does each find clearest expression?

Feeling these Christian virtues isn’t arbitrary. They correspond closely to the fundamental feelings and activities in my day.

Evidently, Peter burned most of the time with a temperament of hope, and invites us to do so also. The whole epistle bears witness to the prominence of this.

It emerges at the very beginning… before any other thing is mentioned, and is immediately introduced in such a way as to make us feel that the essence of what Christians are, consists in this… that we have a Hope.

We are begotten for Hope.

When we were made new creatures in Christ’s resurrection, it was so that we might have a NEW hope.

And in the sequel to Luke’s gospel, the writer comes back to it,

flips hope around in his pocket,and brings it out again,

to display to his new readers and converts.

“For what do you hope?” is the question… not, “Do you have hope?”

or “Have you thought about hope?”

What about the hope that IS… in you? It's not a suggestion that we SHOULD have hope.. it's a recognition that we ALREADY DO.

Hope is the narrative… the river that runs through us… hope.

So… therefore… because you’ve seen the example of it, over and over and over again… pass your time… living in hope.

Yeah… there’s a lot to fear. There are real things in life that can cause calamity… pain, frustration, loss, grief, anger, and deep bruises. But… the God who is judge, whom we fear… is also the one who has given Christ as a savior. A risen savior. A living savior. A dynamic exclamation point for our lives. We believe…. we hope… in a God who raised Jesus from the dead and gave him glory… for the express purpose that our faith might also have the same hope in God.

So what does hope look like on the Sunday after Easter? I heard on the platform of a roller coaster a few weeks ago, and heard someone say, “I hope we don’t die!” Well…… it’s like that, but it’s deeper.

Christian hope… is not a general sort of hopefulness… the expectation of future blessedness or removal from calamity… I mean, it is true that the Christian is a person of hope, because our outlook on the future can have a bright and cheerful demeanor. But what Peter means is something different from this… it's far more specific.

The hope he refers to, is the hope of the future kingdom of God, the final state of relationship, the hope of communion with God and each other.

According to Peter, a Christian is one who lives with a hopeful destiny in full view. He sees that which is, and that which is to com in their true proportions and in their proper perspective.

The center of gravity of her consciousness lies not in the present, what we see… but in the future… what we HOPE for.

Hope, not stuff…

Hope, not temporary feelings or ideas or inspirations,

Hope… is that which gives tone and color to our life.

Hope gives us the frame of mind of one who is a proper heir to a relationship with God… who knows about the large treasures upon which we will enter at a point of time…

Hope… that God… has our back.

We WILL come of age…

we WILL enjoy the fruition of all good things… hope.

The good news, is that we are the only ones who can hope for that which is to be given to us by God.

For us NOT to have our face… set forward and upward and hopeful in stance, would be an anomaly… a misunderstanding… an error of tremendous proportion. To have our eyes set upward and forward is life and health and strength… from their source… our hope in God.

The early church, Christian converts, as we observe them in the New Testament, had a sense of this kind of hope…

I wonder sometimes why we forget?

Dear God, may our hope be in you, and only in you. Please remind us of your love, your grace, your truth, that we may know the living hope you give. Amen.

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First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Rocky Mount NC

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Rev. Michael G. McHarg, Senior Pastor  (252) 363-1600