A May Note from Pastor Rich

Hope  

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

We have just passed the Easter season and that always reminds us of “HOPE.” The word in the New Testament that is translated “hope” is elpis and it is used in many different ways. However, allow me to tell you what it means. It describes favorable and confident expectation and has to do with the unseen and the future (Romans 8:24-25). This word describes the happy anticipation of good as in Titus 1:2 and I Peter 1:21. It also tells us the ground upon which hope is based, “Christ in you the hope of Glory,” (Colossians 1:27). It is a word that even tells us the object of our hope, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope” (I Timothy 1:1).

Various phrases are used in the New Testament with the word “hope” and they give us a great deal of information about our Christian hope:

“The hope and resurrection of the dead” (Acts 23:6).
“The hope of the Promise made unto the fathers” (Acts 26:6-7).
“The hope of righteousness” (Galatians 5:5).
“The hope of the Gospel” (Colossians 1:23).
“The hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).
“The hope of Salvation” (I Thessalonians 5:8).
“The hope of God’s calling” (Ephesians 1:18).
“The hope of your calling” (Ephesians 4:4).
“The hope of Eternal Life” (Titus 1:2 and 3:7).
“The hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20).

There are three adjectives in the New Testament that describe this hope that we have as New Testament believers: “Good” (II Thessalonians 2:16); “Blessed” (Titus 2:13); “Living” (I Peter 1:3). We could add Hebrews 7:19, “a better hope,” a hope that is centered in a new priesthood.

Well, there you have it. A short synopsis of what Martin Luther King was talking about from a New Testament point of view. But how does it work out in real life? Let me tell you about Gina Barreca. Gina is an English professor at the University of Connecticut and a syndicated columnist who writes of life experiences with well-crafted humor to season her words. In April, 2017, she wrote of the heartache she experienced at age 22 when the man she planned on marrying decided to take a different route. She had flown to London on a one-way ticket the year before anticipating they would marry and make their life in England. She now found herself sobbing in an almost-empty train car as she pressed herself against the window in devastation and loneliness. The conductor saw the sad sight as he made his way down the aisle checking tickets and asked if he could sit with her for a moment. The much older and wiser man offered a strange sense of calm and the tears stopped flowing for the first time in several hours. He quietly listened as she told her story of loss and then offered just a few words that she remembers four decades later. He said, “You’ve got your life in front of you and plenty of time to make it a good one.” She pondered his advice and then sought to move forward with resolve to make it a good life. (Hartford Courant, March 30, 2017). (http://www.courant.com/opinion/op-ed/hc-op-barreca-thankful-for-a-conductors-kindness-0331-20170329-column.html)

The Gospel offers that same hope and much more as described above. Regardless of how much time we have left, and none of us knows, there’s plenty of time to make it a good one if we give the balance of our time to the Lord Jesus Christ. Regardless of how badly we have lived, we can decide with commitment to Christ to make the rest of our life a good one. The man crucified next to Jesus was in the waning moments of his life when he embraced the Lord, yet that was plenty of time to make it a good life because Christ gave him eternity in paradise and he went down in the annals of Inspired Scripture forever. (In Other Words, April, 2017).

Serving Christ Together,
Pastor Rich