Whakapono: Cosmic Renewal
The Christian story is one that is forward moving. It suggests that there is something more going on here than just humanity set on a repeatable cyclical loop. The imagery of new heavens and new earth inspired ancient Hebrew prophets like Isaiah, and in the New Testament the symbol of Jesus' resurrection testified to the possibility that God was indeed "making all things new." This carries far more meaning then the oversimplified dualities of heaven and hell - with Jesus Christ as a train ticket to the 'good place'. The 'making all things new' becomes a reality that transcends time and enters into our current experience. This is the grounds of Christian hope; a hope that is much more than naive optimism, but is a hope anchored in the work of God in the world, moving us forward into the 'something more going on here' that is displayed in the story of Jesus and the life of the Spirit. In this light, cosmic renewal is ultimately an invitation into hope.
In the remainder of this blog, Greg offers some reflections on hope that resonate with this story:
There is a sacred force that animates the human soul with the ability to live outside of the immediate present, to consider alternative outcomes and possibilities. The capacity to imagine different scenarios as normative possibility suggests that we belong to a meta-narrative of futuristic proportions.
Hopefulness is the capacious nature of expectation that engages with the future as it breaks into our lives. My evolution and becoming is fuelled by the work of hopefulness, an everyday reminder that my life is this wonderful emergence of formational profundity. Hope has its own reality spectrum, one that is not defined by random consequence or fateful outcome. It lives with an anticipation that goes beyond optimism or romantic idealism, like a deep seated trust that believes that the universe is working, if not conspiring, on our behalf.
Hope, who is patroned by the muse of trust, reminds us everyday to find concrete ways to build connection and relationship with that which will encourage our soul. For those who are religious or deeply spiritual the guarantor of trust is a divine power who works on our behalf, a providential guardian who is unfolding a preordained destiny that has been wired into our being from the very beginning of time. Faith gives trust a point of association enabling hope to do her work in us. Believing in something outside of our own self made intelligentsia gives some credibility to this journey and keeps us humble along the way.
‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life'
Hopefulness keeps us wondering about what might be, a heart felt longing that dreams of magical places and mystical possibilities, unencumbered by the pessimism and cynicism that so easily sickens our hearts. We live in a world that continues to remind us of our immortality and terminal surroundings, and hope's eternal qualities reach in to help us pluck up courage to believe for something more. When I feel deferred I find that my joy and peace begin to waver and my life takes on an exorbitant amount of anxiety. The irrational and irritating nature of anxiety reduces hope down to a ‘que sera sera’ equation, something you say when you are stuck in a hopelessly unchangeable situation, but have come to accept, or even embrace the unchangeability of it all.
At least there is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant. - Job
When our lives are confronted by circumstances outside of our control we search for comfort from anything that will refresh and restore our reason for being. The scent of hope is all we need to sprout again and find renewed peace and joy.
The word for hope in Māori is 'manawa ora’ which can also be interpreted as ‘breath of life’.
Lets all take a deep breathe today and let life-eternal do her work in us.