The Christian lives in faith and tries to love. Faith’s twin sister is hope. Love is nourished and given direction by faith and hope. It is love that will last but on this side of the grave as we attempt to love we go on faith and hope. We struggle, stumble, cry out but we gather the inner strength and we hope daring to celebrate in creative waiting. Such is Advent.* We inherit from our miraculous past the theological virtue of hope. Hope is always humble and frequently disappointed. Hope is not a house. Hope is not even the hands that build the house. Hope is the hands, which shape the rubble into some sort of shelter for the night when the house is ruined. It cannot be separated from its theological sisters, faith and love but it is not to be confused with optimism which is a conceited and secular cousin inherited like a passing bout of influenza from the ease and pride of life. –
I read of the incorporation of Christianity where folks drink of’Starbucks Catholicism.’ We see their and similar temples everywhere in our midst. We prefer Starbucks coffee and its attendant corporate-capitalist dogma to the strong wine of the gospel and the preferential option for the poor.* But they were warned in a dream and returned to their own country by a different way. – * While warming himself at the fire in the courtyard of Empire, Peter screamed: ‘ I do not know, I do not understand, what you are talking about…But he started calling down curses on himself and swearing, I do not know the man you speak of…
I offer you the two biblical scriptures as an Advent gift of reflection. As Christians we have been warned to go home by a different route. Yet we warm ourselves at the fires of Empire. Hope is only possible when we know the truth of who and where we are. Maybe together we might give one another reasons to want the strong wine of the Christ child’s presence among us.
Paul E. Hansen