“Cities and regions are changed by people of faith who tell stories of hope.”
I don’t know about you but I’m prone to grumble. You? We all like a good moan don’t we. Even at the office we like to tell stories of bad things that have happened, and the stories keep getting progressively worse until we all feel a little bit more hopeless than when we started chatting.
Perhaps it’s something in the water or in our culture that we’re taught to look at what’s not happening or what might go wrong. We start the conversation off, “What a lovely day today” and someone responds, “Yes, but don’t know how long it will last.” It’s kind of funny and at the same time a little bit broken.
We do the same with faith in Christ. Our religious upbringing on this island has taught us that friendship with God is dependent on how well we are doing or how little ‘sin’ we have in our lives. Maybe how many times we’ve been to church or confession, how little swear words we have said or the number of cigarettes we didn’t smoke that week. We measure our value to God based on what we’re not doing or how we’re not performing. There’s a lot we could say about that but the thing that has been stirring in me is how often do we speak with ‘hope’ with regards to life, faith and Jesus?
Hope is the language of possibility. And hope in the Christian faith is not simply an aspiration, it marks the tangible in-breaking of God’s beautiful Kingdom – His Way – into our lives. When was the last time you spoke with hope about your relationship with Christ? When was the last time we shared a story of hope – a story of God doing something wonderful (however small) in our lives or the lives of those around us?
Maybe it’s time that we stepped out a little again, risked just a wee bit to see God break into someone’s story so that our lives were filled with more stories of hope. Or perhaps we simply need to re-visit the most incredible story of hope every told in what we call the ‘gospel’, meaning the good news that Jesus taught, lived, died and was raised to life for. What if we were to announce this incredible story of hope in as many creative and unique ways as we can to those around us? Courageously, declaring over our families, neighbourhoods, cities and regions that there is something more to be found – there is real hope to be discovered in the present reality of the risen Christ.
Could it be that as we (followers of Christ) learn and communicate this language of hope, sharing stories that build faith and courage, we might begin to see our city marked by increasing hope?
And boy do we need that!