Week of Hope – Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday represents hope fulfilled, but also the promise of hope to all for all time.
We have a message to tell the world – a message of undeniable hope that will explode with power when it is lived out in day-to-day life.Deborah L. Roeger, The Power of Hope, p. 244
Faith, Hope, and Love
Paul’s hope is for a life where “what is mortal” has been “swallowed up by life” (2 Cor. 5:4). This is not a palliative administered to his converts to help them endure the hardships of economic injusticesHerold Weiss, The End of the Scroll, p. 129-130
or cultural authoritarianism within the Roman Empire. He was not, as he charges other apostles of being, a “false merchant of the word of God” (2 Cor. 2:17). The hope of sharing in the glory of God, of being changed from the image of the earthly to the image of the heavenly being (1 Cor. 15:49), is not a blind hope that God eventually, after incomprehensible delays, will do something for humanity. The assurance that God’s purpose for creation is being realized is based on three things that faith affirms God has already accomplished: in the first place, God created the world (2 Cor. 4:4-6); second, even though the visible, material structure of the present age has not changed, the cross and the resurrection of Christ have accomplished a new creation, and those who have faith in God already live in it (2 Cor. 4:18), and third, those who have faith in what God did in Christ (2 Cor. 5:5), and have already received the Spirit as a down payment, will enjoy their final glorification at the Day of Christ (Phil. 1:19).
Paul encapsulates his theological vision in a pithy statement, “For in this hope we were saved” (Rom.8:24). Salvation, eschatological life in the Spirit now and in spirit bodies at “the end,” the ultimate goal of God’s creation, has been achieved. It is a fact of the past that faith can apprehend. But, it is also a fact that at present believers are saved “in this hope.” Faith and hope are bound to exist together. Faith transcends all evidence and therefore sparks hope. Fruitful hope can only be based on faith. If it is based on evidence, as Paul says, it is not hope. He rhetorically asks, “For who hopes for what he sees?” (Rom. 8:24). Hope needs faith as its basis, and faith sparks hope as its consequence because faith has God’s Promise, not his Covenant, as its basis. Both of them, however, can remain abstract ideas comforting the intellect, lacking relevance. Paul does not conceive faith and hope as twins in abstracto. They belong in a
trinity that is completed by love. That “we” were saved in this hope is true because love actualizes this hope in the body, not just in the mind, that is in the concreteness of social life, and that is what is going to be looked up at the Judgment (2 Cor. 5:10).
As our world’s problems pile up, where shall we turn for answers? Meaninglessness and loss of hope draw young and old to death as a way out. Sabbath speaks to these tragic losses. Identity with a divine creation gives meaning to life, and redemption from sin brings assurance and hope.Keith Clouten, A Day for Joy, p. 89
The Best is Yet to Come
Good morning! As I was watching the news, I was again struck by how crazy this world has become. Story after story drove that point home. But then I was reminded how the best is yet to come … when Jesus returns! Praying these verses from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 can encourage you as we wait with great anticipation for that day: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” These words give us hope. Every. Single. Day. Praise God!Linda Estes, Good Morning, Lord!, p. 11