being free

I like being free. I like the way it feels.

05 November 2008

hope is in the air

I congratulate Barack Obama for his victory. He will be held in my prayers for the years to come.

The anticipation of change and hope for the future has got me thinking of times long ago and a message of lasting hope…

In a time of uncertainty, many years ago, there arose a leader. His actions brought peace to the “whole world”.

He was seen as a savior, the bringer of peace and prosperity. He was the fulfillment of the hopes and longings of all humankind. He was Octavian, the soon entitled Caesar Augustus “the revered one”. His fame quickly spread throughout the Roman Empire. In short time statues of the emperor were erected throughout the cities of the empire. He became a legend, a divine manifestation of god, a leader to be admired and worshiped.

“The most divine Caesar… we should consider equal to the Beginning of all things…; for when everything was falling [into disorder] and tending toward dissolution, he restored it once more and gave to the whole world a new aura; Caesar… the common good Fortune of all… The beginning of life and vitality…. All the cities unanimously adopt the birthday of the divine Caesar as the new beginning of the year… Whereas Providence, which has regulated our whole existence… has brought our life to the climax of perfection in giving to us [emperor] Augustus, whom it [Providence] filled with strength for the welfare of men, and who being sent to us and our descendants as Savior, has put an end to war and has set all things in order; and [whereas,] having become [god] manifest (phaneis), Caesar has fulfilled all the hopes of earlier times… in surpassing all the benefactors who preceded him…, and whereas, finally, the birthday of the god [Augustus] has been for the whole world the beginning of good news (euangelion) concerning him [therefore let a new ear being from his birth].” (An inscription from the Provincial Assembly of Asia, dated 9 B.C.E)

The promise of hope was in the air. Prosperity, peace, imperial greatness, and personal security were at hand.

It was at this same time that another hope was born. It was not the hope of an earthly kingdom and rule, but a hope of heavens kingdom and rule. It was not the hope of human dominance and greatness, but a hope of God’s dominance and greatness. It was not a hope of pride and prestige, but a hope of humility and meekness. I was not a hope of worldly wealth and prosperity, but a hope of eternal riches and unending life.

These are the hopes that a humble baby, born in a manger, brought to the world. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” This child became the hope of the world, the Prince of Peace, the true Savior. His hope declared the forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all who believe. His hope showed the way to be human through the reign of truth, love and forgiveness. And his hope promised the restoration of all things. It is this hope Christians wait for and long for. To us, it is the only hope. And while we wait for this hope, we live for it, in expectant anticipation. For the Christian, his citizenship is in heaven and as he/she lives on earth, he/she lives for the purposes of his/her coming king and kingdom.

There is much talk of hope these days… hope in politics, hope in laws, and hope in leaders. But let us not forget, the greatest hope of all was but a mustard seed in an empire of trees. Today, this hope remains. Centuries after Caesar Augustus has been dead and buried, Jesus lives on. His mustard seed of hope has given birth to a movement of hope. He teaches us that hope is in the love of ones neighbor. Hope is in the transformation of the heart through the touch of God. Hope is in the small communities of believers scattered throughout the world witnessing to the love of God through the love of others. Hope is in the adoption of the unwanted. Hope is in the care of an elderly neighbor. Hope is in the compassionate touch of a friend. Hope is in the arms of a mother. Hope is in the mustard seeds of life, the hidden acts of love and service, the child born in a manger.

As we dream of hope, let us dream of love. For it is in the love of God that we have any hope at all.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13


At 9:26 AM, Blogger Eric said...

Beautiful post, Todd. Well conceived, and well written. Thanks for sharing your thoughts so eloquently.

I've been thinking about basing this year's Christmas message at Zolder50 on this theme of Hope. Could I maybe lift some of your material? :-)

At 9:57 PM, Blogger Todd said...

Eric, thanks for your compliments. You are more than welcome to lift any of the thoughts I shared. :)

At 9:42 PM, Blogger Naomi said...

Todd, I agree with Eric on this one. Beautifully written. I was just about to write a post on my blog about hope and this is very inspirational!


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