Stories of Hope

There is a heaviness in the air as daylight dwindles, as we grapple with disappointing leadership and as we grieve shootings, broken immigration policy and a world that feels chaotic and cruel. How can we be people of hope in the midst of this heaviness?

When hopelessness creeps in it, it can feel isolating and as if nobody or any time has known our grief. Yet, the questioning of hope is not a new experience, nor is the feeling that things are too untouchable, too big or too broken for hope to seep through.

Earlier this month we read this passage from Romans, “ We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5). This verse is rich and has uplifted, challenged and called the church for centuries. And today, as I reflect on my own feelings of uncertainty and loss of hope, the word that stands out to me is boast. We must share, exclaim, shout out our stories. How can we begin to move towards hope if we do not first share our feelings of loss and heartbreak?

In response to the hopeless and fragile feeling that there is too much brokenness for light to shine through, I felt compelled to organize stories of hope within our community. Where are there intentional acts of goodness and generosity being done throughout our community and city? The answer: They are happening all over! All you have to do is ask people to share (or should I say boast)!

This is not a blog series to pat our community on the back and give us a gold star--that is, to feed our own ego. But rather, these stories are being shared with the hope of encouraging us all what can be done when we give space to listen and respond to the Spirit. Many of the ministries of Union started because someone came to us with a need or someone noticed a need and asked for something simple, like making sandwiches, that in turn blesses hands that prepare and eat. These are stories of fishes and loaves-stories of listening and giving out of abundance. Stories of what happens when we say “yes, let go and participate with the Spirit’s ongoing work.”

Peace and Light,

Kierstin Brown