"We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain."--Hebrews 6:19 (NRSV)
For the last several years, I've participated in the One Word 365. The last three years have been shaped by the words "gentle," "brave," and "embrace." As 2016 comes to a close, I've been waiting for God to show me my new word. Several friends gave me great words but my one word made me feel different from the other words. My new word is a word that is grounded in my faith and the ways that this word is brought about in this world. My one word is......HOPE!
It is the one word that keeps showing up. One of my friends chose hope for me. My friend KK tweeted about driving past a town named "Hope." I came home to mega snow and found hope in the three souls who came to shovel me out. Another friend TR tweeted about how her word is resist and how she will resist in hope. In each of these instances, there was that word "hope." So this year I will be open-hearted to hope.
2016 has been a hard year; a year that I didn't want to particularly embrace at times. A contentious election. The unnecessary killing of people simply due to the color of their skin. My Muslim, Jewish and LGTBQ+ friends afraid for their lives. Several of my friends losing their first born children. My heart breaks at all the hatred, evil and loss that I see in our broken fractured world
Yet I've seen glimmers of hope. Hope in church leaders. Hope in leaders who are working for change. Hope in family and friends who show radical love to all Gods children. Hope in the Word made flesh; in Emmanuel "God with us"; who births messy messy hope through his life, ministry, ultimately death, and resurrection.
So hope is something that I can cling too and am choosing to cling to in 2017. In fact, "hope is the only thing stronger than fear." Hope breaks into this world like a rising sun at sunrise. It shines light into the darkness just like a candle lit in the darkness. It is just enough light for us to be able to see. In the words of Desmond Tutu, "Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness."
"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tunes without the words and never stops at all."--Emily Dickinson
As hope settles in my heart and mind, hope will anchor my soul in the midst of all of life's storms. Hope changes things. It changes things for the better. It gives itself to this broken fractured world. It perches in our souls and is unending.
May 2017 be a year firmly planted in hope!
Eye of the Storm--Ryan Stevenson