July 23, 2008

Hoping with God

            The Epistle lesson is drawn from Romans 8, surely a towering passage in Pauline theology.  The Apostle writes: “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (v. 25). In recent years,           theologians have given increased attention to hope, learning that it is a necessary companion to faith and love. Indeed, in our troubled time, it is a sustaining grace.

            I spent last week with the Fellowship of American Baptist Musicians at Green Lake Conference Center in Wisconsin. In addition to wonderful opportunity to hone musicianship, we reflected in worship and             study on theology of hope.  We concluded several things:

·         Hope is a collaborative venture between God and humanity

·         The Holy Spirit sustains hope

·         Hope is an active spiritual discipline

·         Trusted companions encourage hope

·         Hope does not disappoint

·         Patience in hope does not mean passivity, but attaching a life-line to God, in whom our hope is grounded

·         The promise of God is sure; hence we do not hope in vain—nor for this life only


I also learned that excellent music kindles hope. The beauty of voice and instrument offered to God in worship is not only doxological, but profoundly encouraging to the human spirit. “When in our music God is glorified,” hope perches (Dickinson) more faithfully.


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