Hope is the persistent, unwavering, immovable gift of the gospel. Because of the hope that is in Christ Jesus, any life story can be turned around, any situation can be redeemed, any sin can be forgiven. There are no limits to the grace from which the hope of Christ springs forth.
In the Scripture, time after time, both the Old and New Testaments bear witness to the hope of God made real in the lives of individual men and women. When Moses became enraged and killed an Egyptian and ran off to the land of Midian, hope remained and became real in the form of a burning bush (Exodus 3:1-22.) When King David gave into selfish desire and arranged the death of his soldier and committed adultery with the soldiers wife (2 Samuel 11), hope made itself known in the hard words of the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12) and hope became real in the repentant actions of the King Psalm 51) who continued afterwards to be known as a ‘man after God’s own heart!’ In John’s gospel Jesus encountered a woman excluded by the other women of her village and who also had been having ongoing relationship trouble. Hope was presented to that woman in the offer of living water that would turn her life around from that very moment (John 4:1-26.) When ‘Peter the Rock,’ on whom the church would be built, denied that he had ever even known Jesus and then experienced deep regret over doing so (John 18:15-27,) hope came in his public restoration (John 21:15-25) and in the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost after which he preached to three thousand people who responded to the good news by changing their lives (Acts 2:1-41) The list of people whose live were changed and impacted by hope in the Scripture could go on. And the list of people whose lives have been changed by hope ever since could most likely never be fully recorded.
Hope is something which can never be extinguished; something which never perishes.
At Saint Andrew United Methodist, our desire is to be a church which both presents and embodies this hope at every opportunity to all the people with whom we cross paths. We desire to present hope in our gatherings, our correspondences, our online presence, in our Sunday School classes and journey groups, in our nursery and in our children’s and youth ministries. In every lesson, every prayer and every sermon, we want to communicate life saving and life changing hope. But we will not be satisfied by just presenting hope in a lesson or a service or a song. We want to embody this hope in our ministry of hospitality and radical welcome in our lives aside of Sunday morning worship and small group ministries. We earnestly seek to be agents of this transformative hope in our lives as neighbors, colleagues, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, team mates, aunts and uncles, etc. The challenge coming forth from Saint Andrew United Methodist church to all its people will be to go out from this place and extend the hope that is in Christ Jesus into every area of life and work.
When we persistently offer the hope that we have received from Jesus, lives can and will be transformed.