Hope can seem a fragile thing.
I had the honour last night of babysitting the child of some dear friends. He woke once only, briefly, during the night, in a moment of unrest. For a longer moment I considered the hopes which rest upon him, from those who love him: hope for living an honourable life, for relationships and experiences to bless and strengthen him.
Hope can seem fragile, but in the life of this child, it is less so. He has two wonderful parents who love each other, and him. He has grandparents, aunts and uncles – family and honorary – gathered and holding him. He has communities of faith and nurture around him as far as the heart can hope.
This child’s story is, wonderfully, not unique. Neither, sadly, is it true for each and every child.
When we hope in our lives, it can seem like whimsy or desperation: that it rains, or that a specific event (exam, grand final, job interview) comes good. Hoping for something as elusive as the weather turning can be flimsy indeed.
As disciples of Jesus, we are inherently people of hope, born not of desperation, but from all that we have seen and heard, and experienced in Jesus Christ.
We hope because of those around us, and before us, who tell us the reason for their hope. We act and live in hope because our ground is shaped by the one whose love breathed life into the very dust.
We hope because the act designed to extinguish it was overcome by God’s own act in Jesus. We look to the future of creation, and of ourselves, because violence and empire were insufficient to quench God’s own love and forgiveness.
Remind each other.
Encourage each other.
Let others know what makes your heart beat and your head lift.
And when the days are hard, turn to others to remember that our hope is held, not in whimsy or desperation, but in a God who intends not just to love, but to restore all of history and all of creation. And all of us.
A story for each of us, as far as our hearts can hope.