A Hope that is Christian - Rev. Dr. John Regan

Walter Brueggemann wrote five separate essays that eventually were compiled into a book he titled Hope Within History.  Rev. Brueggemann’s thesis is that Christians ought to have a biblical faith that avoids both a “hopeless history” and a “historyless hope.”  A biblical faith demands a hope that is “relentlessly historical and cunningly hope-filled.”  I think he means that as Christians we have to live with the facts of our reality.  We are all born into a particular family (Regan), in one geographical place (LaPorte, TX), in a specific moment of time (1962).  And with or without a religious faith we all must make our way in this world and somehow make sense of our history.

As people of faith we have hope in history, hope through history, and hope beyond history. Notice that this kind of hope goes way beyond the headlines and timelines of how we have been taught history in school.  Though the world often seems hopeless and suffering is ever present, we trust in the deeper, hidden reality of God.  We believe that God is somehow present in the people and processes of this world.  We sense that God is relentlessly shaping history and the history-makers.  And this is the key point of our Christian sensibility, history-makers are not simply the roll call of kings, generals, politicians, and superstars.  But according to Rev. Brueggemann, they include “the less than famous persons who have devoted their lives to matters of justice, healing, and compassion in concrete and unheralded places.”  In this season of Advent, I am hopeful because I am surrounded by a community of Christian history-makers.

 Isaiah 55:8-9 - New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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