Hope in Tough Times

Paul's words in Ephesians 1:15-23 are very well known among Bible readers as an anthem to Christ's victory in a troubled and troubling world.  Traditionally, this is the passage read on "Ascension Sunday," the annual day on which the Church remembers and celebrates Christ's departure, in his resurrected body, to the heavens as he also commissioned his Church to take his message to the ends of the earth.  The ascended Christ has the final VICTORY.  

As we look at the world today, do we see that victory?  Really?  Or do you, like me, struggle to see Christ's victory amidst so much chaos, anger, and death?

Paul's original listeners would have likely been like us -- struggling to see how Jesus' victory was made manifest in the world they knew.  Since then, a phrase has developed to describe this feeling: living in the "Now/Not Yet" of God's Kingdom.  In the "Now," we worship, praise, and pray hopefully; we serve with optimism knowing our service in Christ's name is changing the world for the better.  But in the "Not Yet," we see mass funeral pyres in India, unjust shootings of unarmed people, and biting disdain all over social media.  

Wisdom literature in the Bible says numerous times, in various ways, that we must "stay the course" by sticking with the ordinary tasks of our days and finding God within those tasks.   Pastor Martha shared a story of the challenged she and her family have recently faced, but how God gave them an opportunity to witness a baby bird nursed back to health.  That simple but profound experience of the victory of life over death helped their other challenges recede into the periphery.

This is what Paul means when he says to "looks with eyes of the heart."  It is to see the world as Jesus saw it -- in its brokenness, yes, but always within the context of God's victorious love.

Reflect:
1) How much media do you consume each day?  How does it affect your rational view of the world, and your emotional reaction to the world?
2) What do you do when the brokenness of the world gets you down?
3) What do you do when you feel buoyed up by hope?
4) How can you become a beacon of the hope of Christ to others in your world?

Blessings, and Happy Mother's Day!

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