Saturday, November 28, 2009

Advent: HOPE

Our little home church is having an advent service Saturday night. Full of learning and Hope and all good things advent-y, I have been asked to share a little of my thoughts on Hope during the day. I always think better as I write, so here I sit, with a laptop that is on it's last bit of battery, Hoping and wondering what Hope truly is.

Usually Advent is all about preparing our hearts to meet Jesus. This is a focus because oftentimes folks do their rare church visits during this Holiday time. But our little house church is made up of people who have already met, and started a relationship with Jesus. So then, what is advent about? Specifically, this week: Hope.

Well Jerri and I were discussing that at our meeting and our focus is on (lets see how well I was listening) the fact that we are citizens of Heaven living on the Earth. Like a Man who is stationed in an alien country longing to be home, we too may long to be in our true home, Heaven. So how does this change how we act in our lives? Does it change how we see the world, if we think of ourselves as visitors on our way Home?
So where does Hope fit into this? Well, the question asked by Jerri was, "Where is your Hope grounded?" If your Hope is grounded in Earthly things, then your hope may be broken, lost, betrayed or disappointed. Humans are flawed, and finite. If you ground your faith in that flawed and finite place, like the man who built his house on sand, you will be let down. But if you ground your Hope to the end place, the eternal, Heaven, you cannot be broken, lost, betrayed or disappointed. Jesus prepared a place for us in Heaven, that is where we are headed, and have been since before we were alive. Something that constant, that solid, that eternal is the perfect place to ground your Hope.

Now I know that I have a lot of questions about Hope before I can even begin to figure out where I have it grounded. What is Hope? Where does Hope come from? How can I know where I have grounded my Hope... I have a lot of hopes centered around my family and marriage and home, does this mean I have grounded my Hope there?

The other side of the issue is the difficulty of Hoping for a place we don't know except for secondhand accounts. Heaven has been described for us, but is this enough to ground our Hope in? I remember when my family was moving into our new house. I was away in Naramata working at Summer Staff (I had spent the majority of the first 7 months of that year there including Winter session) and would be coming home to an alien place. I had been there briefly when my Mother went for a viewing, and seen pictures on the MLS site, but it belonged to someone else then, and pictures just couldn't do this monumental change justice. I will admit to having trouble envisioning what it would be like, let alone create a solid enough image to ground anything. I was very ungrounded during that time.

So How do we ground our Hope in Heaven? How do we know when it's done? I don't know. I would assume that, like in everything we surrender to God, we would feel a lightening, a surer footing in ourselves maybe? But this is what Advent is for. Asking the questions, being on the journey to that Bethlehem place, where knowing the sacrifice Jesus makes for us, gives the manger lasting importance. That He would come, a child in a manger, the King of Heaven, that piece of God humbled to show His love... this is the beginning, this is the place of Hope... Where do you ground your HOPE?

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