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The audacity of hope: Being a resurrection people

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I recently read Abby Norman’s You Can Talk to God That Way. It is a book on embracing lament as a spiritual practice, and it inspired my Lenten sermon series on learning how to lament. One of the threads we have been following throughout this sermon series, inspired by Norman’s work, is that lament requires hope. In Scripture, psalms of lament always have a section where the lamenter is clinging to hope in faith that God does, in fact, hear their words and could show up doing all those God-like things.

As we explore the promise of resurrection in these early days of Easter, I believe that hope is what sets us apart in the world. It is the ability to hold on to hope in the worst moments of our lives. To believe that God is present even when we can’t seem to feel God’s presence. This is how we live as resurrection people in the day-to-day aspects of our lives. When we find it too hard to cling to hope, our community can do it on our behalf. It is believing that this moment isn’t the end-all-be-all of what it means to live and die in a life of faith. That doesn’t mean we do not get overwhelmed by the challenges that come our way. It doesn’t mean we live life perfectly. It means we are willing to wrestle with all the ways life is hard and try to reconcile that with our life of faith.

More broadly, as resurrection people, we carry that hope, that promise with us into our wider lives as well. It means we can believe that new life is possible when seemingly all hope is lost. It is going into the world seeing injustice, that has always been that way, and saying, “Hey now, we can do better,” because we can make all things new with the help of God. It is believing that, no matter how hard it is to get there, there is a better life possible — not just for us as individuals but for us as a society. It means taking on social issues that are tearing our communities apart or leaving some with excess while others do not have enough. It means questioning the sources of power and authority in our world to bring justice in all our social settings. It is a profound understanding that if our neighbor is repressed by systemic policies, we need to speak up and advocate for change. It is knowing the kin-dom of God will not be “on earth as it is in heaven” without our constant work. This is often difficult work because we must live in a countercultural way, giving up privilege and advantages, to get to this sort of promised land.

As we celebrate the resurrection, the promise of a savior fulfilled, let us continue to hear the call to live as a people of faith ready to change the world and care for all in beloved community. It is only then that we will see the kin-dom of God here in our midst forever.