Last night at Table Topics, we were sitting outside at Ozzie’s, eating ice cream, and talking about hope.
We’ll be back at Green Joe’s, our regular location, next week; we just needed an ice cream break, and Ozzie’s has this this flavor called Midnight Chocolate River which is just about the best thing ever made. Except, maybe, the sea salt caramel with chocolate chips. Also awesome.
Anyway, we’d read an article in which a reporter had interviewed people who had had to flee their homes and were now living in a refugee camp. Given the massive number of people in the camp, and the complicated political realities in their home country, it seems highly likely that they’ll never be able to go home again, or maybe, even, that they’ll never leave the camp. Is it possible to have hope in such a situation?
As we finished our ice cream, we all acknowledged that while we’d never experienced a trauma as difficult as spending years in a refugee camp, we’ve all had moments of hopelessness, when it seems there’s no way out of a dead-end situation.
One of us noted that sometimes, there really isn’t a way out, and then, hope comes in different forms: small moments of joy, maybe, or knowing that you are not alone. Perhaps, I wondered, the antidote to hopelessness isn’t a way out, but companionship along the way. Perhaps walking together is the way back toward hope.
On the eve of our anniversary celebration, that makes me ever more glad for this church. For a hundred years now, this congregation has provided a place where people can walk together through this life.
It would be impossible to count the times when someone found hope here — either through the companionship of fellow pilgrims or through the truth of the gospel that God’s love is more powerful even than death.
Most Sundays, I close our worship service with the challenge to “Go to be hope for the world.” I don’t remember when I started doing that, but I really think it’s one of the most powerful gifts our church can offer the world. It’s the promise of the gospel: that God always makes a way. As we begin our second century, that’s the message I want to share. That’s the good news. So let’s tell the world:
Hope. It’s even better than ice cream.