Hope

A piece of my mind was recently featured in a series on Hope over at Five Simple Stones. I am posting it here as well for those of you that follow here.

Recently, I watched Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. In that movie, I watched a girl lose her family and her life to the will of the Empire. However, when given the option to cower down or to fight, she repeatedly chose the option to fight back against the empirical way of life for her galaxy. She took advice from her friend and even presented it to the council of rebels. That advice speaks volumes to many of us as well: “Rebellions are built on hope.”

Our lives in whatever context or setting begin when we can see a better way. Until we have that light at the end of the tunnel, we are simply existing. I believe God wants more for us than survival. God wants us to thrive. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)[1]

Hope is the greatest tool we have to fight back against an empire that would keep us down. Whatever that empire is for you (patriarchy, racism, homophobia, capitalism, etc.), there is hope to rise up against it in rebellion. Allan Aubrey Boesak writes in his book, Dare We Speak of Hope?: Searching for a Language of Life in Faith and Politics:

Hope cannot be commissioned, called forth at will by the powerful for the legitimation of earthly power. Instead, Hope challenges earthly powers and principalities,   and she places earthly powers under the critique of heaven and earth, by which I mean the critique of the outraged God, the suffering people, and the ravaged earth. Her birthplaces are not in the places of the privileged, nor the high-steepled, stained-glass-windowed sanctuaries of power and customized religiosity. Rather, her birthplace is under the bush in the wilderness, where Ishmael lies dying; under the broom tree, where Elijah wishes for death; in the flames of yet another bush, from which Yahweh speaks hope and life and liberation to Moses and his people with words of inextinguishable fire. Hope’s birthplace is on that cross on the hill, where the cry “Eli, Eli, lema sebachthani?” is her form and shape. That is where Hope is born. When Hope speaks, she speaks not with the arrogance of certitude but the eloquence of faith. She speaks with the voice of those whose voice is lost in the thunder of propaganda, those who have no voice because they are simply too tired, too lost, too weak, or too powerless to speak. Too unimpressive to be worth listening to, not hopeful of being heard, they are too discouraged to speak.She speaks for those whom the powerful have deprived the right to speak.[2]

Hope is not the tool of the powerful or empirical. Hope is for the marginalized, disenfranchised, and voiceless of our world. Hope belongs to those in need of true liberation. God is moving to create a fully realized hope here on earth, right now. It is our job to lean into that where ever we fall on the spectrum of needing hope. I have voice in some places and other places I am voiceless.

Hope shows me that in those places I can make myself evangelically poor[3] or enriched by working with others who share balanced power in those spaces. Together, in community, we will overcome the empirical will. We will create the Kingdom of God now, here, in our lifetime. We will be liberated and freed. We will find our voice when all else feels hopeless. There is no struggle that God cannot overcome with us.

Ishmael survived and fathered one of the most beautiful nations of people the world has ever known. Moses freed his people and created a millennium of hope in the people of God, and Jesus conquered the grave even after death. There is nothing God cannot do, therefore there is nothing we cannot do with God on our side. Lean into the hope, rebel. Our fight is just getting started. When you feel tired, rest. We will be with you, and we have your back as you reclaim your voice. We see you, and we feel you. Together, we will declare the power of hope.

[1] NRSV

[2] Boesak, Allan Aubrey. 2014. Dare We Speak of Hope?: Searching for a Language of Life in Faith and Politics. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publising Company.

[3] Term by James Cone.

Published by Irreverent Rev

audacious. jesus freak. suffrage lover. level head, open mind. laugh enthusiast. trying to become brave.

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