There’s Hope for the World

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:21-23

Three years and seven months ago, my husband and I closed on our first house and moved to the smallest town I’ve ever lived in. The town has all the same problems as the world at large on a smaller, more intimate scale. We struggle with racism, income inequality, violence, climate change, food insecurity, immigrant rights, political divisions and more. I’ve been known to joke that those struggles were the reason I moved here in the first place. I figured that if I could help solve those problems in a small town of less than 10,000 people, there would be hope for the rest of the world.

Most days, this small town looks much like the rest of the world. The last few months have brought us Covid-19 pandemic infections that rival larger urban areas (when proportionally adjusted for our population). Amidst the murders of black women and men around our nation and systemic racism, Facebook posts from local friends reflect the same news articles and resources posted by urban friends. My default “hope setting” has stayed on something like Hebrews 11:1 describes.

Last night, though, was different. Undeterred by nationwide reports of violence at similar events, a few young women from our local high school organized a peaceful protest and march to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Hundreds of community members gathered at the town square and walked down Main Street to condemn the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless victims whose names go unreported or unremembered by a society that so often fails to value people of color. I listened as the young women spoke before the event. I listened as our police chief and another officer spoke out against police brutality and marched with us, while others directed traffic and handed out water to the marchers. I walked down Main Street with a crowd extending past my line of vision, and I came face to face with a determined hope. It’s a big deal when the marching crowd seems as large as the turnout for Bacon Fest and the Prime Beef Festival parade. (They’re two separate things, because why not?)

We haven’t solved the world’s problems. Cities are still burning around our country, threats to life threats abound. Here, though, there is hope for our world. Refrains of “We Shall Overcome” could be heard in the crowd. Cheers of “Vote, Vote, Vote” lingered as we dispersed. The work has begun, it will continue, our shared humanity depends on our building beloved community. We may be starting small, but we have big visions and a deep, liberating hope.

Worship Resources for Sunday, October 19

Worship Theme: The Race of a Lifetime: Training for Humility

Scripture Lessons: John 18:15-27; John 21:15-19

Call to Worship

Leader: Gather your thoughts, your hearts, your voices.
People: Let us come to this place from too busy schedules and worldly demands.
Leader: Whether we are wrong or right, or somewhere in between, we are loved.

People: Wherever we are from, wherever we are going, we can call this place home.
Leader: Together, let us praise our creator and sustainer, our beginning and end.

People: Let us worship God!

Call to Confession

Our worship each week presents us with both the challenge and good news of confession. We are challenged because we have to admit we aren’t perfect. We encounter good news when we realize that God still loves us anyway.

Prayer of Confession

God of all things perfect and imperfect, you have given us life, purpose, and an invitation to discipleship. As we follow the path you have set for us, though, we forget that your invitation is not to a ministry of perfection. We are hard on others when they don’t meet our expectations, and we are even harder on ourselves when we fall short of our ideals. Remind us that all who have been called your disciples were imperfect. Remind us that the whole point of the life, death and resurrection of Christ was to meet us in our imperfection and to transform it for good.

Assurance of God’s Pardon

Leader: Friends, hear the good news. In Christ, we are a forgiven, blessed, and risen people.
People: Thanks be to God!