Learning to Embrace Defiant Hope


I made the mistake of stepping into the path of the 24-hour news bus this morning.  I feel like I'm run over and lying in a gutter now.  Lesson learned.  

The old adage, "No news is good news" takes on new meaning in this current culture of ours.  

Seriously, if we're not being constantly confronted with the sobering images of one natural disaster after another, we're being inundated with stories of political scandals, shootings, and an endless parade of grandstanding politicians, who can't seem to get out of their own way.  It wears on you. 

Walter Brueggeman writes: 
Ours is a time like the flood, like the exile, when the certitudes abandon us, the old reliabilities have become unsure and "things fall apart."  It is happening all around us and to all of us. 
You and I have a choice to make when all is said and done.  

We can allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the way things are, or we can find a way to transcend it all.  We can become distressed, disillusioned and filled with despair, or we can find the courage to lift our heads and practice defiant hope.  

It does take effort, creativity, imagination, and faith to choose hope over despair.  Far too many of us, however, choose despair because it asks so little of us to choose it.  As Walter Brueggeman notes: 
We do not need poetry or artistry or imagination if we only want to wallow in our status quo.  
I think it's time for some holy imagination.  

What if all of us who claim to follow Jesus decided to set aside our fears of having our worldview, traditions, doctrines, dogmas and beliefs turned upside down and simply began to imagine a better world?  

What if we let the poets, artists, prophets, and dreamers that spoke in the Scriptures truly guide us? 

Perhaps then we would begin to see "justice roll on like a river," and "righteousness like a never-failing stream!" 

Or we would finally catch a glimpse of the gentle hand of God wiping "away every tear," in a world "where there will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, as we get caught up in the vision of a world where  "the old order of things has passed away.”

Try this:  Instead of taking in the news of the day today, give yourself a break.  Open up your Bible today, and begin to read it with the heart of an artist, and the soul of a dreamer.  Allow yourself to be shaped by the words you read, instead of reading to shape the words on your own.  

And then lift your head and let yourself be filled with defiant hope--because a new world is possible. 

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  

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