Pastor’s Corner (3/18/2021)
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. Psalm 42:11
Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:18
The English word “hope” can be found in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible about 200 times. The beauty of this word in English is that it can be either a noun or a verb. In these challenging times as we hopefully move closer to the end of COVID-19, we need hope more than ever. We need hope and we need to hope. In his book The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement DOC pastor Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II shared a story about his beloved Grandmama that embodied the power of hope. She and other women of the church would prepare food on Sundays and take it to the homes of others. As they departed she would say: “We’ll be back shortly. We’ve got to go and hope somebody.” As a boy, Barber was puzzled by this expression and was certain she meant to say “help somebody.” He would come to learn that she said exactly what she meant. She knew they were going out to spread hope. “She and other mothers of the church practiced visitation as a spiritual discipline every bit as important as Sunday worship or Holy Communion. She knew in her bones that faith and works, belief and practice were inseparable.” She knew that love and action were not simply about helping people, it was about sharing hope that enabled people to keep going. While our context is different, we all need to share hope and find it for ourselves.
During a recent Zoom meeting of the Faith Coalition of Lancaster County, we were invited to reflect on the power and importance of hope. We began our discussions in small groups by sharing times when we felt hopeless. Then we were invited to ponder and share what brought us hope in the midst of those challenging times. As our time drew to a close, we were invited to share where we were finding hope in the midst of life with COVID-19. One of the recurring themes was that many of us were finding hope in the creative ways in which people were dealing with these challenging times. Life during a pandemic that requires physical distancing has forced us to rely on old ways of connecting and has necessitated developing new ways as well. I have found hope in the ways in which people, particularly here at FCC, have connected with one another. We have not been able to rely on in-person contact in worship and during times of fellowship. People have used tried and true ways to connect: phone calls, snail-mail and outdoor gatherings. We have also relied on newer ways of connecting: virtual gatherings and live-streaming worship.
As we move through these challenging times and they come closer to an end, may we continue to find hope and share it when we can. The Apostle Paul said it well in his letter to the Romans “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Roman 15:13)
With a hopeful heart,