There’s power in “the work of faith and the labor of love” about which Paul writes, but it’s the words “steadfastness of hope” that are grabbing my attention. I’ve always considered myself a hopeful person, even amid inevitable tribulations. But, the cumulative effects of the pandemic and a mental health crisis worsened by it, with rampant gun violence and no appetite to address it, culture wars that stunt access to books and attack the personhood of anyone outside a traditional binary, the war in Ukraine and the recently reignited violence in the Middle East in which the most vulnerable are harmed most, have me feeling deflated. It’s hard to remain hopeful when it feels like the world is held together by Scotch tape.
And then, I remember that injustice and violence have always been part of the fabric of humanity; peace has always been fragile. Otherwise, the world wouldn’t have needed God as an infant who grew up to teach and heal and lead in ways that transformed it.
Don’t forget, while the stories we know of Jesus’ words and actions are out in the open, it was his steadfastness of hope below the surface that drove all of those loving actions that changed the world. Remembering that ineffable hope of Jesus, who surely saw more pain and suffering than I can imagine, has a poignant way of returning me back to my own hope and remembering, too, that hope is like candles on Christmas Eve — you light mine, I light another, and in that way, the whole place is ablaze.
God, help us be people of faith, laborers of love, and bearers of hope. Amen.
Rev. Kathleen Robertson King