Hope is a powerful thing. It can move one from despair to a place of peace, from sorrow to joy. Hope can lead us from one day to the next, lead us to get up and get moving again when the world brings us down, and inspire us to make changes for the better.
I briefly watched the Today Show this morning. Today being the Monday of Easter week, the show’s editors included a section on faith and spirituality, which they plan to do again every day this week. In some ways, it was kind of funny. I could tell that the ultra-optimistic, smiley personalities of this morning show were a little uncomfortable with the subject. Although most of them spoke of spiritual disciplines that they incorporate in their own lives like prayer or meditation, it was still obvious that they were treading on unfamiliar ground in speaking nationally about their personal spiritual activities. This was interesting because the segment included scientific research that is notoriously impersonal. The research showed that children who go to church and pray have higher brain development and are significantly less likely to get involved in drugs and drinking. Now, as a pastor, I was initially perturbed that the program chose to speak to scientists about prayer instead of religious leaders. It is a little weird to try to pin faith under the authority of the scientific observation, but language of numbers and data is practically the only news language that many people know how to speak and hear anymore. I share this, though, to say that even in realms of observation that are not designed to acknowledge the otherworldly, the power of the Divine has an impact. There are observable benefits of faith and hope in God that are seen in marriages, parenting, sobriety, health, and healing, and shine through to every aspect of our lives.
All this is to say, again, that hope is powerful, and Christian hope in the resurrection is eternally powerful. While science is able to observe benefits of Christian hope in this world, by faith we are able to be certain of the eternal home that God is preparing for us in Jesus Christ. Through our Christian hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are able to see a glimpse of the unseen. Through faith, we are able to grasp what God has revealed through the prophets and God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as it is written: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Through our faith in Jesus Christ, we are assured of the promises of his resurrection in which we place our hope. Hope in the resurrection is eternally powerful, bringing us to the throne of God for all time.
As Christians, we live in the Easter hope of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May your faith assure you with hope in Jesus’ resurrection, knowing that because Jesus was raised to new life we shall also join with him around God’s heavenly throne. May you have joy in your daily life knowing that God, in Jesus Christ, was resurrected from death so that all of creation might be reconciled back to God. May you rejoice knowing that hope in the resurrection is not a vain hope, but is fulfilled by the grace of our God who loves us.