Hope that is seen is no hope at all – Romans 8:24

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Imagine living two hundred years ago and trying to tell other people about radio waves – that there are these invisible energies flying through the air and, while you cannot see them or feel them, with a special kind of box and an electrical outlet, you can use these waves to have little people entertain you. Just look through the window! Our comprehension of God’s light and love can seem just as irrational, and even insane, to much of the world today.

This light is “good” because it opens us outward, gives us distances, spaces, destinations, goals, connections – warmth, nurture, relationships, understandings. How different this is from hearing the blood-curdling cry of a lone coyote in the night! The light allows us to know things, and to do things. In light, we walk, run, or even swim; in darkness, by contrast, we can merely crawl.

Yet, paradoxically, we do not see light itself – only what it illuminates. So, too, is hope – something invisible but present. In fact, so much of our religious understanding demands that we go beyond what we can see or touch or even taste or hear – dimensions we can yet experience, if we become attentive and attuned.

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This can be but a Sign, to put us in Remembrance thereof; and therefore, though it was commanded to, and practised by the Church of Corinth, yet that doth not perpetuate its Continuance: For so was washing one another’s Feet, abstaining from Things strangled and Blood, anointing the Sick with Oil, laid upon the Saints of old, which ye yourselves judge not needful to be practised now. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

 

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