We look around us and become painfully aware that we are a frail and wearied humanity. We see that we are weary from the countless struggles and threats brought about by an infectious microscopic virus and the havoc it has wreaked all over the world. We see that we are weary from wrestling with unresolved racial tensions and hatred. We see that we are sick of arguing with opposing ideas on how to care for ourselves and others, for whom to care, and why we should or should not care. We see how weary we are from grappling with uncertainties. We see the effects of the growing disorder of our individual lives and the social structures that dehumanize, hurt people, distort relationships, and estrange us from each other. Our world seems dark.
Our chronic – now turned severely acute – awareness of our disordered human condition leads us as people of Christian faith to seek The Lord’s light and healing for our souls and the soul of our world.
As Christians, we are stubbornly and deliberately hopeful, not helpless, because we know by faith that The Lord never gives up on humanity. N.T Wright says that “hope” as conceived within the Jewish and then early Christian world, is a virtue not a feeling. It is a “dogged and deliberate choice when the world seems dark.” [i] Dogged hope depends on faith in the One God, Creator of heaven and earth. Dogged hope is certain that God can be trusted, is true to his promises and will sort things out even if it is on the other side of terrible suffering. This certain and dogged hope, this assurance of things not yet seen, is a call to worship, bless, and praise The Lord as we anticipate and participate in God’s saving work in the world.
The world is a dark place for many people today. By faith in our One Creator God, I am declaring this morning with the writer of Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21, my dogged and deliberate dependence and hope in The Lord for myself and invite you to do the same for yourself and our world.
By faith, I doggedly and deliberately declare:
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (145:8)
The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made. (145:9)
The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. (Psalm 145:14)
The Lord gives food to all the eyes who look to him in due season. (145:15)
The Lord opens his hand and satisfies the desires of all living things for wholeness – shalom. (Psalm 145:16)
The Lord is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings. (Psalm 145:17)
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (Psalm 145:18)
The Lord fulfills the desire of all who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. (Psalm 145:19)
The Lord watches over all who love him. (Psalm 145:20a)
My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever. (Psalm 145:21)
[i] N.T. Wright. Paul: A Biography. (San Francisco: Harper One, 2018) p. 45.