A Person Of Faith Is A Person Of Hope
Thoughts on the First Readings – Joe Frankenfield
Revelation 21: 1-5
I’m reading What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe. It contains an account of the 1828 presidential race between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. The similarity between the politics of those days and our own is striking. It doesn’t support optimism for the approach of a golden age. Venality, stupidity and short-sighted self-concern were as rampant then as now. It’s difficult to read these pages without questioning our nation’s moral progress. Is our pursuit of a more just and wise future more than chasing a mirage?
I’ve spoken often with folks about the role they reserve for God in human life. Many maintain that they understand why, in ancient times, people imagined a divine being controlling nature’s power and life’s chaos. Since we’ve made such progress in mastering these realities, however, they find little left for God to do beyond guaranteeing our survival after death. Some find even that unnecessary since, if it turns out that we’ve no post-death future, none will exist to rue its absence.
But always there are our kids and grandkids! What we dream for them! What a future we hope for them! Don’t let them face war. Don’t let them endure poverty. Give them a world where they can trust people. Give them a world that affords everyone equal freedom, respect and actual opportunity. Give them love and joy, discovery and growth.
We want more for our offspring than a continuation of what we’ve always known. We want a new history that moves beyond the ersatz glory and bombastic blather of national exceptionalism to real peace and community. We want our children and their children to rise above the fearful pettiness that we and our ancestors have slogged through. How do we dare entertain such a hope?
For us God isn’t primarily the realization to our private destiny. We look to our Creator to fulfill the promise of life for the entire world: we look for God’s Spirit to lead us beyond the edge of the map that history has drawn. In God we see the promise of life. In worship we claim a future.