Hope is There

Dec 04, 2016

By Mary Mortenson, Director PCA

I love the Advent readings from Isaiah: From the 2nd chapter: In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains…all the nations shall stream to it, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths…He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. And from the 11th chapter: A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse, from his roots a Branch will bear fruit…The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, and the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them…  “They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full the of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

The beautiful imagery of these passages move me to tears.  Many would say that these images bear no resemblance to our reality today. In fact, they bore no resemblance to the reality of Isaiah’s time, either!  I believe that there are glimmers of light, even in our darkness, and that Isaiah in his time and modern prophets in our time are asking us to be still long enough to sense the hope, for it is there.  Hope is there when strangers protect and stand up for one another.  Hope is there when the church says – and means – that all are welcome.  Hope is there when people of conscience speak truth to power.  Hope is there when people travel hundreds – even thousands - of miles to stand with indigenous peoples in the harsh winter to protect their water.  Hope is there when I resist the urge to be impatient with the tired and distracted sales clerk.  Hope is there.

Pastor Lori Hope (believe me, she lives into her name), of St. Marks Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, SD puts it this way, “This is a time of hoping against hope.  The small sounds of God’s grace are all around us.  We have only to take the time to sense what it means to be an expectant people.  We are called to live as though God’s promises have already been realized.  We are people who walk in darkness, yet see the light.”

Blessed Advent.  May our waiting give us courage and peace and resolve to share the love of the Holy Child with a world desperately hungry for it.



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