Hope in the Real World: Beyond Tomb Raiders and Zombies
“It’s what we do. It is the life a Christian believer in a risen Lord and Savior proclaims. It is the existence of an audacious testimony that takes place in our community every day where followers of Jesus the Messiah make huge claims about who Jesus is that prove true as we live by faith, not by sight. (Hope that is seen is not faith or hope, Romans 8:24, Hebrews 11:1).
The world on its own can’t recognize God’s work in an empty tomb. It can’t make any sense of such thoughts that defy the way the world works around us. The world would have us believe the ways of the world can’t be reversed. That the mighty get their way and the rich get to push their weight around is just “the way it is.” The barren one without a child or the poor, low income, wage-earning moms and dads struggling to make ends meet are to just survive somehow, find a way or make a way.
But when Hannah prayed in recognition of the God she knew who really does something despite what the world believes (birth of a son Samuel), she spoke of hope in the real world that she knew. She said, “There is no Holy One like the Lord, no one besides you, there is no Rock like our God.” (1 Sam. 2:2) She speaks of reversal of all kinds of realities for those who know and take this God of Israel (the same One who raised Jesus from the dead) seriously.
“…The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry are fat with spoil. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. The Lord kills and brings to life, he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes the poor and makes the rich; he brings low, he exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pil- lars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world…” (1 Sam. 2:4-8)
Our hope is real and trustworthy because God as we know God in Jesus really does something. As real as an empty tomb where Christ our Lord has reversed for us the torment of sin, death and work of the evil one and by the Spirit still does this for us every day. And as good as that promise is that transforms our lives here, we have hope of something even better that God is preparing for us. We don’t see it yet, but in our cross we have hope of eternal life from the One who was raised incorruptible.
The Easter Promise is there is no one like our Lord Jesus, risen from the dead, risen conquering Son of God. And we find that our “praise and thanksgiving constitutes and restores our community” just like it did Han- nah’s long ago. Audacious testimony of a God who really does something. Speaking of our hope in the real world that we know- He is risen!
Alleluia! Pr. Gary