Recently, I was asked to share a reflection for a team meeting in my workplace. I was at a bit of a loss for what to focus on so at dinner I asked my three children what they thought I should talk about. My eldest daughter, Clara, is home right now doing her first year of Carleton University online. She is studying Global Politics with a focus on human rights. In the midst of a pandemic she sits alone in her room reading day after day. Copious amounts of books, articles and lectures. Reading about things like war, power, genocide, rape and torture, refugees and deportation, and human rights violations, and how the legal system consistently fails to bring justice. She is finding her studies fascinating… and deeply depressing. There are days that she comes down to dinner heavy with the hurting world on her shoulders.
Given the many questions and doubts that fill her days I was especially curious to hear her suggestions for my talk. This is what she said.
“Mom, when I’ve been out for my walk the last few days the sun has been shining so bright! And the ice on the river is melting making the water glisten and sparkle—it is so beautiful. Oh, and Easter is coming soon! You could talk about Easter.”
What I heard my daughter saying was—talk about hope.
“Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!””
Romans 4:18 (New Living Translation)
Abraham’s hope grew out of a moment in which he encountered his God. Even when everything around him said his path was futile, that shared moment continued to fuel his journey. That moment gave him what he needed to hold fast to his calling.
So, I want to remind you that each of us is called to find what it is that will feed our souls, give us hope, and allow beauty and light to call us to life.
Whatever it is…
the warmth and sparkle of creation
the cuddle of a child
a song lifted
a word spoken
a promise from Scripture that holds you together
Whatever it is, we need to be attentive to it. To notice. And pause. And allow hope to live.
Because if we will do that—notice, and be attentive to hope—then I believe that in that moment God meets us. In the “hope moment” God meets us. And fills us. And draws us forward to become part of God’s good hope for a hurting world.
“Hope nonetheless. Hope despite. Hope regardless. Hope still.”
from The Painted Prayer Book by Jan Richardson
Following 16 years in pastoral ministry, Rev. Margaret Smart moved with her family to Stratford, Ontario. Currently, Margaret serves as the Walking with People in Poverty Program Coordinator for the Mennonite Central Committee, Ontario (MCC) providing leadership to MCCO’s anti-poverty advocacy efforts and supervising programs such as Circle of Friends, The People’s Action Group, The Raw Carrot Soup social enterprise and Living Wage efforts. In her spare time Margaret continues to guest preach whenever possible as it is a source of great joy for her to continue to worship with and encourage people in this way.
Thank you, Margaret, for sharing insights from your road of life with us today!
Let’s journey together…