Hope = Action

All of the churches and pastors in East District of the Desert Southwest Conference have been invited to journey together in a new way during the next year. Starting this week, the first week in Advent, we are reading through the devotional book by Brian McLaren, titled We Make the Road by Walking. We are starting with the Advent readings, which begins with chapter 14. We will read one chapter each week, imagining what it is like to have the entire District reading the same thing at the same time. Now that you have the background information, let’s get started.

As I read scripture passages listed, and the words Brian McLaren wrote for us, I was struck by the message that hope was more than wishing for something to happen. Hope, according to McLaren, equals action. Hope is a force to be reckoned with.

I have to be honest how the words for this week’s reading have hit me. How many times have I said, “I hope so,” or “let’s hope for the best,” or even “that’s my hope.” I suppose after what I have read this week what I should be saying is – I Wish – Let’s Wish – That’s my Wish. I realize now that often when I use the word hope I have not intentionally connected it to some type of action. Do you do that, or is it just me?

Look at the words from Isaiah 40:11 from this week’s lesson.

He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.

The words of the prophet speak are about a hoped-for future when the messiah would care for the needs of the people. The words were so powerful that they shaped how the people lived. The people looked for someone whose values and actions aligned with the words. The hoped-for would be known by actions taken.

What do you hope for this advent season? How is your hope more than a wish? McLaren challenges us with these words:

To be alive in the adventure of Jesus is to have a desire, a dream, a hope for the future. It is to translate that hope for the future into action in the present and to keep acting in the light of it, no matter the disappointments, no matter the setbacks, and delays.

I don’t know what you hope for this holy season, but what I do know is that Brian McLaren is right. What we hope for we must also align our values and actions with, or the hope is nothing more than a wish. Hope=Action.

My prayers are with you, that you may be transformed by the renewing of your minds, as you read God’s word and engage in walking a road together with those of us in the East District.

Peace be yours,

N Susan Brims Signature

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