the church and hope

Our culture is in dire need of something in which to hope. People are desperate for a container, some place that will hold their confidence. Most buckets that have worked in the past have developed holes.

There is a skepticism regarding politics that has not been seen in recent times. A significant portion of our population scoffs at the idea that a particular man or woman is the answer to our country’s woes. Many of those who vote do so out of obligation and a sense of civic responsibility. There is no delusion of actually making a difference.

Our government has blown it in so many areas that not many citizens have maintained any trust.

Our economy is in the tank. People who once held their future secure in their savings are now wondering if there is a future. Instability personifies the world markets. Consumer confidence is now an irrelevant term.

Religion is a joke to many, nothing more than ritual to others. The optimism that organized religion is our hope is a thing of the past.

Any thoughts about the basic goodness of humankind carrying us forward are dispelled with each suicide bomb and each beyond-brutal crime.

Sounding pretty bleak?
Sounds like the perfect opportunity for today’s purveyors of hope. The church of Jesus Christ has been given a wide-open door. All we have to do is speak up. We don’t have to go looking for converts , all we have to do is live. Live in our communities, breath the same air as our neighbors, engage in life around us.

One of my favorite, life-giving scriptures is I Peter 3:15 “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (TNIV) Hope is organic in the life of the believer and it should be clearly detectible. I believe that hope in the middle of despair is one of the more apparent and attractive character traits of a Christ-follower.

The church that offers hope offers Christ. The church that reneges on its responsibility to share hope with a hurting culture is no church at all. It is a gathering of struggling people who are operating outside of God’s intentions. We would be no better off than any other social organization.

This is it, this is our chance. Let’s not blow it. Share the treasure of hope. It is the most valuable resource you have. It is the greatest need in the world.

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