Faith, Hope, and Love

I was talking with a parishioner recently about the state of everything and how easy it is to become discouraged.

From Supreme Court rulings that stripped away a woman's right to bodily autonomy, that allowed for more people to carry concealed weapons, that curbed the EPA's ability to require reductions in power plant emissions thereby valuing profits over people, to the relatively uneventful apprehension of Bobby Crimo (the white man who killed six people in Highland Park, IL), to the Akron police killing the unarmed black man Jayland Walker (who had sixty bullet holes in his body), to the police shooting of John Crawford (another black man) for carrying a toy gun, to the inaction of the Uvalde police department, to the rise of white supremacist groups such as the Proud Boys whose goal is to intimidate people of color, to people and politicians continuing to falsely claim a stolen election, to any number of other actions, it is easy to become discouraged. It's easy to simply barricade yourself inside. It's easy to give up. It's easy to do nothing but cry.

In our lamentation he mentioned that he hoped for a better future. My response was, “We have to be hopeful, because right now that's all we've got.”

Paul wrote, “Faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.” But I wonder if hope isn't foundational to everything.

Paul also wrote, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Which is true when speaking about God. We patiently hope for a resurrection we do not see. We have not yet seen the fulfillment of God's kingdom, but we hope for its arrival and wait patiently for its coming.

But to hope for better days without acting on those hopes, or refusing to act out of fear, is nothing more than by and by pie in the sky wishful thinking. To see basic rights continually stripped away, to watch as our citizen's health is seen as an inconvenience, or to witness the resurgence of white supremacy without doing anything but hoping for better days, makes us complicit in those crimes.

Paul also wrote: Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor,. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, extend hospitality to strangers.

Hope for better days, hope for full equality, hope for full inclusion, hope for an end to hatred and abuse are all worthwhile goals. But our hope for those things must be tied to actions which will work to ensure all people experience the rights and privileges espoused by this country's founding documents and which all people should experience by virtue of being created in the image of God.

Let us hope for better days. But let us also be willing to work to make that hope a reality.



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