As we begin this season of Advent with the candle of hope we affirm our trust in these Beatitudes for the hopeful:
Blessed are those who wait silently with the hopeless.
Blessed are the patient who model peace for all around them.
Blessed are those who are ridiculed for their unrealistic optimism.
Blessed are those who simply light up the space they inhabit.
Blessed are those surrounded by the deep darkness of grief. They will be comforted.
Blessed are those who shine through a faith undimmed by human tears.
Blessed are those who face the truth of human evil but will not give up the dream of God’s peaceable kingdom.
Blessed are those who can sit peacefully in the darkness and wait for the dawn.
Blessed are the wise ones who have walked in deep darkness but also know the joy of emerging into the light.
Blessed are the hopeful, for they are brave enough to be light for a world drowning in darkness.
Please pray with me as we again light the candle of hope.
O Holy One, we pray today that we may not be distracted by the personal and cultural chaos around us. Help us pay attention to what is true and just. Even as one way of being in the world is ending, help us to cling to our hope, not for a return to the way things were pre-Covid or pre-Ukraine, but to a new world emerging from the ashes of the old. Speak to us again the truth that endurance through dark times produces character and hope that allows us to never be weary in doing what is right. Send your Holy Spirit upon us today that we can be a community of faith that disrupts the broken world with hopefulness. Make us a community of hope where we resuscitate each other when our faith is running low. Remind us that we are called to be a movement of hope, even as institutions, denominations, and individual leaders come and go. Give us hope to wait upon you when we are weary, to rest but not give up. Please, Holy God, renew our strength and raise us up on eagles’ wings to be a resurrected and dynamic movement that draws us and others ever closer to the way, truth, and life as followers of Jesus. Amen
Northwest UMC, Columbus, OH, November 27, 2022