According to Emily Dickinson, it’s a thing with feathers. Nietzsche thought it “the worst of all evils,” while Martin Luther King believed it formed the foundation for a just world.
Hope has a mixed history. The story of the world can easily be told from a pessimistic or optimistic viewpoint. Frankly, the evidence of history is in the eye of the beholder. The details don’t tell the same story as the “moral arc of the universe” to quote Unitarian Theodore Parker (later quoted by Martin Luther King Jr.).
In seminary it was a popular question, “Is the world getting better?” or put another way, “what is the case for hope?” The problem of course is that the case for hope is not an evidential case. No defense attorney could line up the alibi for the times when clearly the world has not moved toward the common good or hopeful vision. Yet, no prosecutor could deny the fuel behind some of the world’s greatest visionaries. Hope does not rest upon the world eventually being righted but rather in a vision for the world that compels action.
When Martin Luther King placed his life in the hands of hope, he did not wait for his dream to unfold. Rather, hope was the vision before him that called him through the troubling nights and hot, fearful days. If hope is a gift apart from our action, then it is magical thinking and impossible opiate. But if hope is the substance that propels our lives toward the next and the next day and in so doing makes our lives count in ways we could never see in the daily details, then hope has a case.
This month we’ll consider the case for hope. Is it an attitude? Is it an act of will? Are you born with hope, or do you learn to be hopeful?
Come join us for the first theme of the year as we begin our spiritual journeys together. We hope (wink, wink) you will join us!
In faith and appreciation for the journey we share,