Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
April 9, 2001
Hope is the engine of change
Jesus' whole life was about hope. Anyone who would say publicly that the meek will inherit the earth had hope.
Hope is the door to real change. And it's rooted in faith. "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Without that conviction in what is not seen, we are left with only what can be seen. And often what is seen is a discouraging mess with no apparent way out.
Without hope there is only cynicism and power-seeking. Indeed, that is the shape of Canada's current federal political morass. Recrimination and stone-walling by the elected officials; a cynical despair towards politicians among much of the populace.
We don't know if the women who went to the tomb on Easter morning had a hope in the Resurrection. It appears not. They had brought spices to anoint Jesus' body.
But those women did have courage. They knew Roman soldiers were guarding Jesus' body. Likely they knew the tomb had been sealed. They must have approached that tomb with foreboding, not knowing if the soldiers would cause them trouble, not knowing if they would be able to gain access to the body.
Yet the women were determined to try to provide at least minimal respect to Jesus, even when the Apostles had fled and were hiding out behind locked doors. The courage of these women did not make the Resurrection happen. But without such courage, who would have been there to witness to the Resurrection? Would anyone have even known of the Resurrection if those women had not gone forth?
And so the women went to the men and the men went to the tomb. And they all began to believe. Hope was born that day, and it became something living and active once the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles.
The world began to change because of that hope. Most of the Apostles who were afraid to show their faces after the crucifixion went to a martyr's death. They believed in the Resurrection to the extent that they allowed their own blood to be shed. They believed in what cannot be seen.
The billions of Christians who came after those first witnesses have not made the world perfect. Far from it. But where there was hope and courage, there was the possibility of change.
Today, too often we put our faith in experts and in something called consultation. When we see a social problem, we set up a royal commission with tens of millions of dollars and lots of experts and lots of consultation. This is not bad; it even holds the germ of new possibilities. Yet all too often, the result of all of this effort is ignored.
Evangelical pastor Jim Wallis once said, "Hope is the very dynamic of history. Hope is the engine of change. Hope is the energy of transformation. Hope is the door from one reality to another."
When the Polish dockworkers courageously formed Solidarity, they had hope in the face of a very black system. When Nelson Mandela began to speak against apartheid, he had a hope that few could have understood. When the abolitionist movement in the United States worked 40 long years to abolish slavery, there were never any grounds for optimism. There was only hope.
The Resurrection feeds hope. It is a sign that the impossible can happen, even at the darkest hour. It provides the courage to do the right thing, even when death is staring one in the face. Christ is risen. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to give us a courageous hope in the midst of our darkness.
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