The Word This Weekend – November 12, 2017
“Hope: Unseen, But Not Unknown”
The Rev. Dr. William L. Hurst
FLCS Senior Pastor
For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:24-25)
There are days when hope is more difficult to recognize than others. And these are days more elusive than most. Members of this community are still grieving the events of Las Vegas, and our screens bring us yet another senseless act of cruel violence, this time visited upon innocent families and children whose only crime was gathering for worship in a small town church on a Sunday morning.
Hopelessness — perhaps the darkest and most grim of all human emotions. When wave upon wave of tragedy and loss crash down upon us, we can be forgiven for questions about the sanity of the world around us, and perhaps even wonder where God is — in the midst of nature’s fury and evil’s acolytes, besieged by vile rhetoric and violent deeds.
The Apostle Paul knows something of this anguish. He writes to Christians in and around the capital of the Roman Empire, during a time of official persecution and uncommon evil. The Jesus community is being blamed for every sort of calamity, judged for its insistence on the sole Lordship of its Savior and King. How can people find reassurance and faith in the face of such terror and danger?
For them, and for us, there is no hope — at least not a hope that can be easily discerned.
This hope offers no easy rescue, no 11th Hour reprieve from the wiles of evil voices or virulent enemies. There is only the Hope of the Cross. Powerless to sign-seekers, and foolish to philosophers or critics.
And the reason the Cross offers such a hope is as simple as what it represents. Think of it: Christ’s cross is the very emblem of a world gone wrong. Its bearer is convicted through a sham trial, and sentenced by a governor more interested in expediency than in truth. To look upon the Cross, and to know its power, is more than to see the Savior in all his blessed love. It is also to see clearly why we need such a Savior, and why such a love is the only cure for a world as fallen, violent and broken as ours.
“Hope that is seen is not hope.” Not seen, perhaps, but certainly not unknown. It is truly known in finished work of its Bearer, and restated in every life dedicated to his redemptive, peace-seeking, justice-loving and right-embracing mission in the world. We may not see this Hope, but in it’s promise we find our deepest need, and God’s deepest “Yes.”
With You in God’s Good Work,