Hope: an Exercise in Metaphor—Advent 1

Advent 1, Hope

Ezekiel 35:11-16
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Look for me, too!

I can feel so lost.
I can get so lost.
I can be so lost.
I have been so lost.
I am so lost.

Find me on this precipice
to which I futilely cling.
Bring me back from the edge of despair
over which I teeter.
Pull me away from the wolves
that would devour me.
Shelter me in love,
nourish me with your
Grace and Courage.
Warm the chill from my bones
with your eternal hope.

I hope I can be seen.
I hope I can be found.
I hope I can still hope.

In the end,
hope is all I have
as I wait.

Last Sunday was the first Sunday in Advent.  It’s about HOPE!  Advent is a time to ready ourselves, yet once again for the coming of the Christ-Child.  In the midst of all the commercial activity, bad economy, depression/recession/bad times.  This week of Advent focuses upon the concept of hope.

Where are we in the hope department?  Have we given up on it?  Have we turned it over to the Pollyannas of the world and are holding fast to our well bred and well developed cynicism?  Is there even a reason for us to believe that there is any hope?

We seem to be living in a time when the wing nuts rule.  The Jesus Freaks are getting freakier, and the purity seeking Bible-Belters are demanding that everyone but them seek repentance and salvation.  Atheists are becoming more fervent in their own peculiar form of faith, and Agnostics seem to be winning the day through pure indecision and apathy.  Where is hope anyway?

Hope is lost somewhere between our worst fears and our most unreasonable dreams.  Hope is lost amidst our proclamations of unconditional love and our breaches of faith with each other.  Hope is still well and strong, and growing fine and elegant behind the closed doors of our hearts.

The idea that we seem to miss is that all the while we slip and slide around in the morass or our self-judgement, self-pity, self-aggrandizement, and self-promotion, there was once a small babe, named Jesus.  And this small babe, in spite of intellectualism and the self-inflicted misery of 21st Century rationalism, is still a metaphor for hope.

I asked above, Where are we in the Hope department?  I wonder if we, as a people, as a nation, as a church, as persons, have any actual, real, vital hope left, or is it that all we have are our various religious and denominational slogans?

Just asking, but I think it’s a question that needs to be answered.

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