from Pastor Todd's weekly email …

Our President authored a book titled, Audacity of Hope. I found the following quote as I have not read the book,

I'm not talking about blind optimism here — the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don't talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. No, I'm talking about something more substantial. It's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!

Regardless of your politics hope would surely stir your imagination. If you can recall a time when hope "sprang eternal" for you then capturing the sentiment of the aforementioned quote will come easy. I fear our penchant to hope suffers with the constant regailing with bad news and over the top cynicism many prefer. One sure hope killer is the necessity of some verifiable, sure bit of evidence things will change.

It is funny how just last week the Stock Market put together what is considered six winning sessions. That means the Index finished in the "green" for the day. Earnings by banks pushed back the fear of a failed economy if only for a moment. Today that same market views some of the same information differently. Everyone is looking for some verifiable sign, some sure indicator, that would announce once and for all that we can "hope for better days soon."

The Scripture texts for this week vary. Yet, one theme I find running through them all is some reference to hope – and yes, an audacious hope. A man walks against all odds. Even more it is announced that in the face of the need for redemption we all share the One in whom we find redemption blots out sins. A songwriter goes off of history in something of a commanding voice calling, and expecting, God to answer. Words well-crafted to signal a hope in the God who brings peace, joy and a place to dwell in safety. Scattered people hear encouragement they are called God's children by His great love. And worried they may have seen a ghost Jesus presents himself in bodily, hungry fashion to the disciples who are then vested with the word to announce the real living Jesus brings peace and hope if we would turn toward God and away from ourselves experiencing forgiveness for our un-toward ways. Audacious hope.

A point of connection between the hope-ful descriptions in President Obama's book and the Scripture texts – hope is visible. It is not enough for us to talk of hope. But seeing a man walk (Acts 3:12-19), the discouraged renewed (Luke 24:35-48), the war torn at peace (Psalm4), and the dis-possessed given a name (1 John 3:1-7) demonstrate hope. Giving in to the hope-lessness around us fails to speak of a hope in the resurrected Jesus. Idly talking about hope without giving or working to present its realities conceal Jesus as Good News.

What are some ways you work toward what is hope-ful? How do these Scriptures strike you as hopeful pictures in otherwise dark circumstance? Who could you point to with a concrete hope centered on the work of the Spirit in or around you? Where is hope visible to you?

I am thinking and reading through/about/with these texts this week. I would love to hear your thoughts as we continue to think and celebrate Easter during this "Season of Resurrection." You may remember, if you were with us yesterday, one of the questions I am thinking through relates to conversion. What are we converted to/from? If the resurrection means something and we encourage people to trust in Jesus Reply to this email or email me at tlittleton@snowhill.org.

Jesus invites people into his life and his way. He takes what is and points to the new way of the Kingdom of God.  Come see what this journey is all about!

One way to think about the mission of Jesus - He calls into question the way things are and points to the way things may be in the Kingdom of God. 

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