After the dark, difficult, and tear-soaked days of 2020, who doesn’t need this re-orienting and sure message of hope?! God’s people have clung to this changeless truth through wars, oppression, injustice, and atrocities—yes, even deadly pandemics and unspeakable losses.
2020 has been a year like that. In the foreword to Walter Brueggemann’s Virus as an Invitation to Faith, Rabbi Nahum Ward-Lev writes,
“The virus has lain bare what people who have been oppressed or marginalized have long known—the injustice and unsustainability of the old order.”
[We have] Isaiah’s promise that God is doing ‘a new thing,’ a promise that summons humankind to radical, prophetic imagination and actions toward a new and flourishing world. . . . The price of newness is the full acknowledgment that the old creation has failed and therefore must be relinquished, renounced, and repented.”
2020 losses, wounds, and grief run deep and will travel with us into 2021. But hope travels with us too—always—for God is with us and will never give up on the world he loves.
The point in following Jesus isn’t simply so that we can be sure of going to a better place than this after we die. Our future beyond death is enormously important, but the nature of the Christian hope is that it plays back into the present life. We’re called here and now, to be instruments of God’s new creation, the world-put-to-rights, which has already been launched in Jesus and of which Jesus’ followers are supposed to be not simply beneficiaries but also agents. . . .
Christianity is all about the belief that the living God, in fulfillment of his promises and as the climax of the story of Israel, has accomplished all this—the finding, the saving, the giving of new life—in Jesus. He has done it. With Jesus, God’s rescue operation has been put into effect once and for all.
A great door has swung open in the cosmos which can never again be shut. It’s the door to the prison where we’ve been kept chained up. We are offered freedom: freedom to experience God’s rescue for ourselves, to go through the open door and explore the new world to which we now have access. In particular, we are all invited—summoned, actually—to discover, through following Jesus, that this new world is indeed a place of justice, spirituality, relationship, and beauty, and that we are not only to enjoy it as such but to work at bringing it to birth on earth as in heaven.”————————————— — —N.T. Wright, Simply Christian
God launched his subversive rescue operation the moment Mary said “Yes!” to the angel’s message. Who would imagine a small helpless baby held the key to every reason we have for hope. “Righteousness and justice are the foundations of his throne; love [hesed] and truth go before his face” (Psalm 89:14). What could be more hopeful that that?
I needed this resounding hope and share it here with thanks to my dear friend, Karen Sawyer who sent me the link.
So as Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace said, “Wear your damn mask,” social distance, and let’s bring real hope to others in 2021!