Wednesday, October 7, 2015

hope.

And God's hope does not put us to shame, 
because God's love has been poured into our hearts by the 
Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  - Romans 5:5

My Hope has been feeling silly and ashamed lately.

It is hard to be hopeful these days. Syria. Racism. Guns.
Fear. Blame. Discord. Corruption. Poverty. Malice.
These things eat hope for breakfast.

Maybe you've been aching too. Maybe Hope has fallen to the bottom of your purse or it sits on your dresser without a proper home. Maybe it's stuck under your skin like a splinter that throbs because its being rejected by everything around it. I know the feeling.

But tonight my Hope is rising and I figured the internet might as well know.

I have been with a sick kid all day. His voice is is completely different when his throat is swollen. His head is hot and I can feel his heart racing when he wraps his long body around me and settles into my lap for a sweaty nap. All 36 pounds of Jasper are working hard. He is fighting and repairing and restoring. And then, from his sticky and chapped coma he mutters, "Mom, I am starting to start to feel a little better." I can hear his soft snores coming through the baby monitor upstairs. Resilience.

I drove back through Minneapolis to work and spotted neighbors picking up trash along the sidewalk where corner store wrappers like to gather in crinkled conversation.  I opened the door for a women who apologized for coming to dinner early, who was amazed by my simple welcome and the delicious scents that poured from the kitchen. I watched as neighbors and children made dinner together in the kitchen using both English and Spanish to mix ingredients and friendship for the sake of many who dine together on Wednesdays. I listened as Johnny gave me his order, guided safely to his chair by a sighted-stranger.

I was surprised to find a new mother from ZOOM House in the Recovery Worship circle, her son already wiggling with energy and asking me for chocolate. He was remembering the candy on Patty's desk from last week. We colored on the floor while folks prayed and sang around us.

I got up to uncover the bread and juice, which he could not help but touch. "Are we going to eat this?" he asked over the Words of Institution. His question unraveled this ritual into a conversation about Jesus' presence and enough and promise and sharing. He took the bite and sip with great eagerness.

Before they left, Patty found chocolate and I picked up crayons. Then his mother asked if she could come back on Sunday during worship and Monday during my office hours for communion. "How often can we have it?" she asked on their behalf. "Often," I answered. "If you are hungry and this promise is giving you hope, come often."

Today a heart beat quickly against my heart. Beauty was restored, welcome was extended, a feast was prepared, and a little one could not keep his hands off the bread.  There will always be heartache, most often when I am reading the news by myself and shaking my head; but when I lean in to struggle and feast with others, great Hope never disappoints.