Luke 21:25-36 CEB
A wonderful thing happens when you give up on hope, which is that you realize you never needed it in the first place. You realize that giving up on hope doesn't kill you, nor did it make you less effective. In fact it made you more effective, because you ceased relying on someone or something else to solve your problems — you ceased hoping your problems somehow get solved, through the magical assistance of God, the Great Mother, the Sierra Club, valiant tree-sitters, brave salmon, or even the Earth itself — and you just began doing what's necessary to solve your problems yourself.
Derrick Jensen, in Endgame Volume I: The Problem of Civilization, p.332.
But what is Hope? Nothing but the paint on the face of Existence. The least touch of truth rubs it off, and then we see what a hollow-cheeked harlot we have got hold of.
Lord Byron, letter to Thomas Moore, 28 October 1815, in Byrons Letters and Journals (1975), Vol 4, ed. Leslie Marchand
What is hope? Hope passes when there is no longer a future for it to live in. Hope is like a weed because when one loses hope in one area of life it springs up somewhere else. We may want for food, shelter, companionship, but we may always have an abundance of hope.
Pastor Melissa Fain
Our spirituality is rooted in faith. Our faith is grounded in the knowledge we have gained through experience and our understanding of history. Therefore, the bible is the best source we have to learn and grow in Christian faith because it is a collection of accounts of spiritual experiences with God.
Love can spring up from our solid grounding in faith. Faith are the roots. Love is the tree. Love is what we can see; what we experience. Love lives in the now. The tree of love is a statement of our current relationship with the divine; with God. Symbolically, this tree is not an evergreen. The writer of Ecclesiastes has it right: there is a season for everything under heaven and earth. There is a season where the tree of love looks full and vibrant, and there is a season where the tree is bare. In both cases love is not gone nor absent. When the tree goes dormant it is because our actions have ceased to produce good fruit.
Hope is the future of love. Past acts of love become the faith in which we are rooted and grounded. It is actualized hope that becomes the love which brings outward life to that tree. We tend to hope the most when the tree of love looks the most bare. God gives us this gift of hope because hope are the directions, the map to having a fruitful tree of love.
Derrick Jenson and Lord Byron fail to see the purpose of hope. Hope lives in the future. You should not act out hope. As long as faith is rooted in the past, hope is mapped out in the future, and love is present in the now everything will be as it should. Yet people misplace their hope. Instead of acting in love they act in hope.
Five-Hundred million dollar lottery anyone? Buying one of those lottery tickets was not acting in love, it was acting in hope. Hope should not be an action word and using it as one is as fruitful as thinking you can win the lottery. Yeah, it is possible, but incredibly, extremely and very believably unlikely.
If you read the scripture up at the top of the page you will see that Jesus wants to talk about hope. Hold your heads up. There is something to hope for. Yeah, the tree looks dead, but life is within it. When you see the leaves start to grow on the fig tree you know summer is coming. In the same way there is a future, there is something to work towards and hope for. Yes, the future has anxiety and fear but among that fear and anxiety is hope. For us, during this Christmas season, that hope takes the form of a little baby who was born in a manger. Because this event already happened, we take it on faith. There was a time when people hoped for the coming of Jesus. Many were scared and fearful. Yet, God did not take the form of a judge to smite those who were not part of the fold. God took the form of a baby- innocent and helpless.
Today we hope God will come to us in that innocence. Today we can only hope we will be more like the shepherds, staring in awe, and less like Herod, killing all the new babies to keep power. We hope so we can live in the love of God and produce good fruit.