“Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:24-25
Today marks the fourth month since we were placed under the Stay-at-Home order and quarantine began in California. Throughout those first weeks and months (which, now, seem so much like a blur), I felt so grateful to have been already appointed to St. Mark’s, because it provided a sense of hope—something certain to look forward to. But outside of that, and for a lot of us, we have had to let go of so many things we had envisioned for this season. The things for which we had hoped would have to be postponed, or look differently than we imagined. And, unfortunately, this season of unknowing continues to stretch further into our future.
Our text for this Sunday challenges us to wrestle with our typical thoughts and experiences of hope. In our society, we are mostly conditioned to hope for things that are already mostly assured—an upcoming vacation, the new car we have saved for, a well-earned degree. We are less skilled in allowing ourselves to hope for things that are not assured or that we cannot yet envision. Hoping for these things makes us feel too vulnerable; too open to disappointment or grief. But it is this latter state to which we are called as people of faith—as resurrection people.
Our Creator did not give us life only for us to fall into despair, and even here, when illness and injustice surround us; when isolation and anxiety overwhelm, there is still hope—hope for ourselves, hope for our church, hope for our world.