Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Hopeful 13

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

The number thirteen is unlucky in several cultures, including our own. Most tall buildings eliminate the thirteenth floor and the media make a big deal out of any Friday the Thirteenth. I don't put much stock in superstition and the notions of "lucky" and "unlucky" don't matter all that much to me.

I am big on hope, the hope rooted in a relationship with a God who is present with us in the person of Jesus, the Christ. As the decades have passed I am somewhat less sure what this means because I have come to realize that we live in an often cruel, violent, and seemingly heartless world. At times the confident, black and white faith of my youth seems hopelessly naive. Still, I am also more aware of the kindness and generosity of individuals whose lives have been shaped by their Christian faith.

I had a conversation with a friend recently who is pondering a return to church after a couple of  years absence. After a lifetime of very active involvement he essentially "fired" organized religion, fed up with the conservative theology of the congregation he was attending and the pettiness of church life. After two years away he plans to find a new faith community. Why? Because he finds existence without a Christian community rather hopeless. He sees that so many people are scurrying around after material things, and while some talk about working toward a better world, they aren't doing much. Another conversation with my daughter-in-law who grew up outside the church led down the same path. She finds that many of their peers are earnest about making a difference they aren't finding a forum in which that can happen.

I don't know about Lucky 13 but I want this year to be Hopeful 13. My resolution is to be as simply faithful to Christ as I can be, and to do so in the company of those who share this goal.

Christ be with all of you in this year of our Lord, 2013.


IanD said...


I sometimes struggle with reconsiling the God who's always been there for me with the events I see splashed across my T.V. screen everyday. That said, I'm always thankful each day and am hopeful that by reconnecting with the church, I can add to our community through volunteering at the Gathering Place, among other things.

Happy New Year, everyone.

LSDPB said...

I presented the bible message from Hebrews 11:1 to my daughter as a wall hanging for her room this Christmas. I receive daily, great personnel strength from being a part of my church family. I believe having a christian faith makes handling this ugly world a lot easier. Best Wishes to all in 2013

Laura said...

Received an e mail from a struggling friend today quoting Lord Tennyson "Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come.." ...and was struck by the blessing we share as part of a Christian community...every time we gather it is because of, and bouyed by, Hope....being made new not by a once a year resolution but by an ongoing relationship with Christ. What a gift!
I heard that Hope referred to as a "revolutionary patience"...and thought it a good description amidst the troubles of our world as we look to a year ahead that we hope might be different.
I was thinking this year to stay the course mostly,with a little more trust, a little less speed and to make sure I keep the horse (God) ahead of the cart(me).....
New Year's resolutions are often touted as being more likely to be successful if you find a partner, or community to work with.....Thanks bloggers and St Pauls for being that partner all year long.

David Mundy said...

I'm intrigued that while not a lot of people responded to the blogs of this day and the day before, all commenters are parents of children. I'm sure that part of your hope is driven by your desire for a worthwhile world for them. We need them and you!