The Role of Hope in Creating a Better World


(Spectrumbot) #1

Hope is an easy concept to talk about, but not always easy to actively practice. As human beings, we hope for many things: health, happiness, and love, to name a few. As Christians, our hopes are even greater: we hope for Jesus’ soon return, to see Him face-to-face, to be reunited with loved ones in heaven.

An oft used phrase is, “our hope is in the Lord,” but what does this really mean? Truly, the Lord gives us hope, but what are we to do with that hope once we have it?

It seems hope comes naturally to children. You see it in their faces and the matter-of-factness with which they talk. But that expectant naivety slowly dissipates as we age, and hope becomes harder to grasp. Hope takes a lot of energy, and it’s not always energy we have to spare. And yet, we must.

In “Mere Christianity,” C.S. Lewis begins his chapter on hope this way:

“Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.”

He goes on to state, “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.”

Hope is not a passive feeling or just an indulgence for day dreamers. Hope is an action. More than that, hope is a responsibility for us as Christians.

To build on C.S. Lewis’ description, hope is a discontentment with leaving things be, just because they have always been that way. Hope is not falling in line with the status quo; rather, it is recognizing when something needs to change and becoming part of the solution.

When described this way, hope can be a difficult undertaking. How daunting to turn one’s hope from feeling to action. How easy it is to give up on hope! But it is when we start thinking a situation will never improve that our hope dissolves and hope-as-action fails to occur. And so, we must remain steadfast in our belief that we can help create the change that’s needed, whether in our life, our church, or our world.

So, dear reader, what are your hopes for your life, for your church, for your world? How do you turn your hopes from feeling to action?

Alisa Williams is Spirituality Editor for SpectrumMagazine.org.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6828

#2

I challenge any SDA pastor to do an anonymous survey to see what percentage of their congregation wants Jesus to come back in one week or even by the end of 2015.


(Kim Green) #3

It is our belief that we can/should help create change that gives us hope…and the faith that God is there to help us in what He directs us individually to do.


(Kim Green) #4

It is against human nature to desire change- so I would say that most people would theoretically say that they would want Jesus to come but wouldn’t really be ready. I do have a problem with the Adventist emphasis on the Second Coming…just do the work that the Spirit directs and let the Lord come whenever He desires.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #5

It all depends upon what ones hope is built upon. the hymn “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and Righeosness.”" As C.S. Lewis suggests that Hope is a vector it has direction and/or focus. It also has many levels of meaning, like hoping for good weather on Memorial Day and rain the next if you are a farmer. the corm and or cotton needs it., however, the hymn Blessed Assurance is a more positive expression of ones Faith. I happen to love them both. Tom Z


(Carolyn Parsons) #6

Here are some things that create hope:

  1. Physical security. Freedom from violence and war.
  2. Good health and medical care when you, or someone in your family is sick. Medical care that is affordable and does not put you into crippling debt.
  3. Healthy food that is available and reasonably priced.
  4. An accessible quality education.
  5. Political freedom

Here is the SDA response.

  1. Lavishing praise on Robert Mugabe who constantly curtail freedoms of their people.
    the people of Zimbabwe.
  2. Joining the medical arms race and behaving like a for-profit corporation in the healthcare sector.
  3. Having puny programs for providing basic food security.
  4. Increasingly expensive private education that is effectively available only for the middle class an wealthy people.
  5. No programs that advocate for political freedom (see number one).

Hope is needed here and now. People need tangible physical and emotional help and hope. What is it worth to have a chance at heaven when you live in hell on earth?


(le vieux) #7

That would be interesting, and very telling. I’m not sure most people have a realistic concept of what it means to be ready for the Second Coming. I suspect that the majority of people are too busy with the trivia that passes for reality in their everyday lives: e.g, the fortunes of their favorite sports team; the quality of the latest offering from Hollywood; or the next episode of their favorite sitcom.

If I sound cynical, it’s only because that’s what I see many people focusing on as their priorities. I apologize if I’ve related this anecdote before, but one time I was at the local Conference office for a scheduled meeting between lay representatives from each church and Conference officials. One Conference officer was extremely late, and apologized because he was busy watching a football game, and lost track of time. Priorities.


(Rohan Charlton) #8

Personally I would MUCH rather watch a fooball game (cept maybe the dumb Muurica version) than go to any church meeting.

This man displayed excellent priorities.


(k_Lutz) #9

So, rather than point out the distractions that preclude one from ‘being ready’, why not in all humility point to the One which makes them ready? Rejoice that your sins are forgiven! "Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven!"

Trust The Process.


(le vieux) #10

As I said; priorities. You’ve helped prove my point; I rest my case.


(Rohan Charlton) #11

Yeah well done. I guess the world needs people who enjoy stuff like church meetings…

Personally i’d rather be down at the local with my mates cheering on my team (Nagoya Grampus) with a cold beer and some karage. (Jpse style fried chicken).

But hey dude, enjoy your church meetings eh…


(Kim Green) #12

I think that if most church members were honest…there would be nearly NO one who could say that they “enjoyed” them. Unless of course you just enjoy going to meetings :wink:


(Kim Green) #13

Birder, what is your concept of being/getting “ready”?


(Ed Reifsnyder) #14

All my life I have been told/asked/urged if I am, or will I get, ready. What do people mean when they say/ask about readiness? Is there some action required to be ready? Is there some character status to be obtained? What does “ready” look like?

I hope it is something like, “simply to Thy cross I cling.”


#15

That won’t make someone ready. The bible counters it.


#16

The only conference meetings that I like to go to are Sabbath school training seminars.


#17

Here is bible for 2nd coming and hope…

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Most in church don’t have hope. They have a false sense of security due to corrupted doctrine.


#18

Another plug for sermon reviews/surveys.
5-6 questions…

I just got an email survey request from a health professional office visit.

Please tell us how we did by completing this 5 minute survey.

How about at least a 1 minute sermon feedback review?


(Ron Simpson) #19

I went to a church where the baptismal pool is under the stage. Under the pulpit.
Many a time I volunteered to make a electronic lock that would open the door. (trap door)
When 51% of the audience could not stand it any longer… the preacher gets wet.
OR
When the big hand on the clock reaches 12…the door opens. (At least 4, 5 or 6)
I want instant sermon feedback. Every one take you voting machine and vote. Do we vote this long winded…off the stage.


(le vieux) #20

Matt. 6:33 is a good summary of what it means to be ready. If one is always seeking His kingdom first in all their activities, they won’t be surprised or embarrassed when He does come, and they will be developing the kind of character (sanctification) which will qualify them for entrance into the kingdom of heaven.