"Hope": A Reflection


I hope it won’t rain tomorrow.  I hope I don’t lose my job.  I hope my friend will get better.  We’re always hoping, hoping.  But with these hopes come lots of doubts.  Even the best weather forecasts can’t guarantee it won’t rain tomorrow.  The current COVID pandemic does not guarantee that we will have a job.  And none of us know how long we have left in this life.  Lives can change in an instant.

The word “Hope” is commonly used to mean a wish: its strength is in the strength of the person's desire. It means to trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone.  It is a word we use a lot. Recently on TV, there was a programme called ‘My family, the Holocaust and Me’.  In it Rob Rinder said that what came through his mother’s tragic story was ‘Hope’.  We all need hope.

In the New Testament, hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness.  In our New Testament reading from Ephesians, Paul prays that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe.   As believers, we have so much to look forward to, because we have a sure and certain hope. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.  Jesus Christ is our hope.    

We are approaching Advent, when we consider both the first and second coming of Jesus.  In a few moments we will say the creed together - a statement of what we believe.  Concerning Jesus, we affirm our belief that he died and ‘on the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead’.  Jesus is coming back.  He is our Lord and King.  And today, on the last Sunday before Advent, we celebrate Christ the King.

Our only sure hope is Jesus. When he returns, believers who have died and those still alive will be with Him.  This brings joy, boldness, faith and love.  He died that we might be forgiven - so we do not need to fear judgment either - Jesus has already paid the price for our sins through His death.  And that was not the end.  He reigns with God in heaven and will return for us to be with him there.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
No merit of my own I claim
but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.

On Christ the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When weary in this earthly race
I rest on his unchanging grace;
In every wild and stormy gale,
My anchor holds and will not fail.

His vow, his covenant and blood
Are my defence against the flood;
When earthly hopes are swept away
He will uphold me on that day.

When the last trumpet’s voice shall sound,
O may I then in him be found,
Clothed in his righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before his throne.

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

(Jubilate Hymns version of My hope is built on nothing less Edward Mote (1797 - 1874)
© Jubilate Hymns Ltd
88. 88. 88.)

All my hope on God is founded - as another hymn says.  Where are we standing today?

Amen

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