The Common Good

Hope, in Perspective

Here in Manhattan, the city streets hum with hope following the announcement of the first African American to be nominated for president by a major political party. According to news reports, similar scenarios are taking place across the world. As we celebrate this historical moment in electoral politics, Sarah Cunningham, author of Dear Church: Letters from a Disillusioned Generation, offers this cautionary tale to her fellow Christians:

When we market ourselves as the hope of the world, or when we believe that other humans hold the hope of the world for us, without proper acknowledgement of Christ as our source, we foster disillusionment.

So how do we keep this hope alive should one's preferred candidate not win the coveted presidential prize? My prayer is that regardless of who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we can keep singing a hopeful tune. As I've reported elsewhere on the blog, I keep seeing glimpses of the kingdom here on earth that are led not by polticos but by ordinary radicals who are transformed by the words of Jesus Christ. My buddy Shane Claiborne reminds us all, "No matter who is elected on Nov. 4, what matters is how we live our lives as faithful Christians on Nov. 3 and 5."

Sara Cunningham concurs with Shane's assessment:

We Christians were never the hope. Yes, we were and are carriers of the hope. But we ourselves are only reflections-often dim reflections-of the hope we internalize: Jesus Christ.

In his latest book, Surprised by Hope, N.T. Wright explores how we as Christians can implement this hope here on earth. He reminds us:

The kingdom will come as the church, energized by the Spirit, goes out into the world, vulnerable, suffering, praising, praying, misunderstood, misjudged, vindicated, celebrating: always-as Paul puts it in one of his letters-bearing the body of the dying of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be displayed.

So, as we see hopeful signs all around us, let us remember that as Christians our declaration of hope lies ultimately with the Risen Christ.

Becky Garrison will be featured in the CD 2007 Soularize in a Box, along with N.T. Wright, Rita Brock, Richard Rohr, Brenann Manning, Ian Cron, and others. Check out The Ooze (www.theooze.com) for more information.

 

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