Nothing More, Nothing Less

I woke up with the word “hope.” There was no apparent reason for this. I certainly hadn’t gone to bed with hope, and today didn’t look much different. Still gray. Same pandemic, same politics. And yet.

My hope is built on nothing less
(and nothing more)
than Jesus’ love/life/blood
and righteousness

I had been feeling a bit discouraged. It happens. People are hopeful about a vaccine. “This will change things- make family holidays possible.” I’m glad that is encouraging. Others hope that November 3 brings good news. But I find neither of these compelling. 

I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name

Neither vaccines nor elections are solid ground. They are possible game-changers, but the road ahead looks long. I get my flu shot, wear my mask, keep my distance, and vote. But for hope, I must look elsewhere.

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand

How do I describe what that means in practical terms? To children, to skeptics, to those who don’t experience faith the way I do. I’m not sure I can. It’s breathing the words to Jesus Said in the wakeful night hours-

(inbreath) Jesus said
(outbreath) don’t worry about tomorrow
inbreath) Jesus said
outbreath) that he’ll give you all that you need

and then waking up with the word “hope.” Not because I am a better friend, spouse, parent, or pastor than I was yesterday. Or that the people around me have changed their ways. Or the world looks brighter. 

When darkness seems to hide his face
I’ll rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

We hope in darkness and in the storm. My hope does not rest on my own righteousness or ability to change myself or others. It is not based on good things I see, or outcomes for which I work and wish. 

When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

Today, hope is a gift. May we embrace that hope. May it buoy us, amidst the storm. And when he comes with trumpet sound, may we then in him be found. 

Service 10/18: Our Citizenship
Order of Service 10/18
Bulletin 10/18

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