“Sharing Hope from the Heart of the Highlands” – more than a tagline!
This is what I love most about our Mission Statement – that we strive as a congregation to be people who share hope! Hope is at the heart of Christian faith, but it seems to me that this is a word that people need today more than ever. On the whole, we live comfortable and reasonably secure lives, but I think all of us struggle at times to feel hopeful. And for many people, here in Louisville and around the world, hope is in desperately short supply.
There is a difference between hope and optimism. Optimism may be defined as a positive outlook or a general disposition. Hope is something different: it involves trusting where we do not see. Hope is a conviction about the long-term outcome rather than the short-term prospects. Hope is being able to say that “in life and in death, we belong to God.”
For Christians, hope is rooted and grounded in the story of God and God’s relationship with God’s people. That story, which culminates in the death and resurrection of Jesus, is about how God persists in loving us and calling us into relationship no matter how often we turn our backs on God, no matter how far or frequently we wander off the path.
The Easter Season is the time when the church rehearses again this great story. It is a drama that takes days to experience because it takes time to understand. The mystery of God’s love in Jesus Christ is celebrated in what the church has for centuries called “The Great Three Days.”
On Maundy Thursday, we remember Jesus’ “mandate” to us, his followers – that we love one another as he has loved us.
On Good Friday, we follow Jesus to the cross and remember once again that no one has greater love than this – to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Then on Holy Saturday, we celebrate the Easter Vigil in which we hear and proclaim the whole story of salvation – from Creation to Resurrection. This service is literally a journey – from out in the playground into the fellowship hall and finally to the sanctuary – because the story is a journey that traces the milestones of God’s creating and re-creating love.
This is the true ground of hope and this is the hope that we have to share with one another, with neighbors and with the world. In life and in death, we belong to God, and therefore nothing in life or in death can ever separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus. This hope makes us bold and generous, courageous in the face of injustice and quick to respond to those in need. May this Easter Season become for you and for all of us a rebirth of hope.
Cynthia M. Campbell, Pastor