Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hope

"Odd," I thought. "I wasn't expecting this feeling."

But there it was anyhow, in the middle of an otherwise uninspiring paragraph about feminisim, atonement, and Jesus.

I had been meandering through a book my sister gave me for my birthday, trying to nudge the scattered bits of my feminism into something coherent, toting my theological briefcase, very businesslike, and then this old friend recognized me, leapt on me, overwhelmed me with an embrace that was more than half wrestling hold.

"Wow," I thought. "I remember this feeling."

It feels like hope, but it's not quiet, or rosy.

Instead, it's a firework that hits me in the eyes and the gut at the same time, occupying my mind's eye so fully that, for a long ecstatic moment, I'm blind to everything but that one unavoidable future, largely featuring the triumph of laughter, full of mountains, of warm days smelling like watermelon and feeling like river water, chilly days feeling like friends and smelling like warm coffee, everything limned in golden joy.

And although the feeling quickly fades, for the moment I am convinced. There really is hope for the world, and there really is power in the cross of Christ. It is a power we can trust and admire: not the power to live perfectly, or the power to appease a transcendent, merciless, bloodthirsty God, but the deep affection that seems to be the only way to transform hatred without fostering hatred, to eradicate violence without using force, and to grant joyful life despite the power of death.

7 comments:

ConcernedEngineer said...

Hope is a wonderful thing. Remember Abraham? "Against all hope, in hope, he believed...." Hope is great, but I pray that we would not only hold on to hope, but that we would grow and be strengthened in faith, and ultimately, that our hope and faith would be expressed in love. Check out Hebrews 11 and 1 Corinthians 13.

God bless.

scoots said...

I'll reflect a little more on the content of your post tomorrow I'm sure, but right now I'm just struck that it's probably the most beautiful thing I've ever read that you've written. In fact, I think it might be the most startlingly-good prose I've read that wasn't by a professional. Honestly, I thought you must be quoting Frederick Buechner. (I hope you take that last bit as a compliment.)

crystal said...

Beautiful, Mattjew :-)

Matthew said...

Wow, I'm a little embarrassed. Thanks. =)

Stu said...

One of the first posts I've thought about commenting on in a while. "Limned" good use of the word, you always had a large amount of the poet in you. I have no idea who Frederik Buechner is, but it sounds like one heckuva compliment.

Beautiful; simply beautiful.

stu

Sarah said...

I really like that.

Matthew said...

Thanks, Sarah.