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The Story of God: Hope

Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:2-4; 3:17-19, NRSV
Matthew 26:36-38, NRSV

Reflections

As I have grown old, my feelings about God have tapered down to gratitude and hope. Gratitude is the pleasure of hope come true. Hope is the pain of gratitude postponed. Gratitude comes easy, on its own steam, whenever we know that someone has given us a real gift. Hope comes harder, sometimes with our backs against the wall, laden with doubts that what we hope for will ever come. Gratitude always feels good, as close to joy as any feeling can get. Hope can feel unbearable; when we passionately long for what we do not have and it is taking too long to come, we are restless as a farmer waiting for rain after an August without a drop… living by hope can get awfully wearying.

— Lewis Smedes,
My God and I

  • Season of Advent after time of Ordinary
  • Season of Joy and Hope
  • Cynics’ view: Hope as “Moral Cowardice”; Nietzsche writes, “Hope is the evil of evils because it prolongs man’s torment.”
  • Season of Waiting
  • Hope is the movement from Pain towards Joy
  • Hope is not denial of pain, but to turn to God
  • Hope is expression of pain, embracing the pain
  • To listen is to hope, only longing for what exists
  • Hope is delay of Joy
  • Jesus enters pain of the world, and moves toward Joy

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