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November 2012

the voice in the middle



“Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”  --Jesus (Mark 8:15)

It is the little extremes that will mess us up and render us powerless. 

We are all a bit legalistic on some things—we need security and a sense of control.

At other times we are surprisingly liberal—we want freedom! 

The issues of our day are heavy and polarizing. The myriad of voices—to our right and to our left—beckons us to “solid ground.”  We need a firm foothold.  Where should we set up camp, pitch our tent, make our stand?  Where is the safe place?

Prevailing over the dogma and the relativism rings out a voice of joy, purpose, dignity and stability.  It is a voice of self-giving, humility, peace and love.  It is a voice of hope in the midst of the tumult and perplexity.  It is the voice of Jesus.

“A Christian is a person who confesses that, amidst the manifold and confusing voices heard in the world, there is one voice which supremely wins his full assent, uniting all his powers, intellectual and emotional, into a single pattern of self-giving.  That voice is Jesus Christ.  A Christian not only believes that he was; he believes in him with all his heart and strength and mind.  Christ appears to the Christian as the one stable point of fulcrum in all the relativities of history.  Once the Christian has made this primary commitment he still has perplexities, but he begins to know the joy of being used for a mighty purpose, by which his little life is dignified.”

       --D. Elton Trueblood, The Company of the Committed

unexpected hope

DSCF3677The long nights of winter have arrived.  My dark morning commute is bookended with the evening dusk that shrouds my drive home from work.  The shadows are ubiquitous—from post-election ranting among “friends” on Facebook, to the unrelenting news reports of wars, economic uncertainty and climate disequilibrium.  Is there a glimmer of hope to be found amidst the gloom?

“And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”  John 1:5 (KJV)

The glimmer is Jesus.

‘Tis the season to remember.  The season of Advent—the time to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ—doesn’t officially begin for a couple of weeks, but I have decided that I am starting now.  If I am going to speak hope into the darkness, I must consider and proclaim the good news of Jesus.  Hope is not a language that the darkness understands.  Hope is looking into the gloom and expecting the unexpected.

I like what the Belgian Cardinal Suenens says in his statement titled: “Why Am I a Man of Hope in These Days?”

“Why are you a man of hope in these days?  Because I believe God is new every morning, I believe God is creating the world today, at this very moment.  He did not just create it in the long ago and then forget about it.  That means that we have to expect the unexpected as the normal way God’s providence is at work.

The unexpected of God is exactly what saves and liberates us from determinism and the sociologism of gloomy statistics about the state of human affairs in the present.  The unexpected, since it comes from God, is something coming out of his love for us, for the betterment of his children.  I am hopeful, not for human reasons or because I am optimistic by nature, but because I believe that the Holy Spirit is present in his Church and in the world even if people don’t know his name.  I am hopeful because I believe that the Holy Spirit is still the creating Spirit, and that he will give us every morning fresh freedom, joy, and a new provision of hope, if we open our soul to him.”

Jesus is the reason I am a man of hope—during this, and every season.