Embracing Hope

Read: Psalm 25; Lamentations 3; Romans 15:1-13; Ephesians 4

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.”

Know the hope.

But what is hope?

Hope is one of those words that is overused to the point of gutting it of real meaning.  In much common use, hope is really made equivalent to “want”.

In this, it’s really saying “this is what we’d like to happen.”

I hope I get that promotion.

I hope my team wins.

I hope those family members don’t get into one of their usual arguments over Thanksgiving.

I hope I can get away for some vacation some time next year (these latter two may be connected hopes).

Such anemic hopes are often the opposite of being content, the kind of content that Paul says he finds in all circumstances.

We struggle with such hopes because they are rooted in our desires, or our variously achievable assertion of will.

When we get what we want, we feel victorious, and that’s an addictive kind of experience. When we don’t get what we want, we linger in an identity crisis of one kind or another, and that’s an experience that cannot be sustained so has to be resolved one way or another.

Driven to either more achievement or to resolve our sense of lack, we enter into forms of frenzy.

When caught in this chaos, I find it hard to be content in any circumstances.  When things are going well, I look to see how much more well they can get. When things aren’t going well it is easy to fall into anxiety or distraction.

The early monastics used the term “acedia” to describe this kind of spiritual depression, where our will and emotions are caught in a trap of disoriented yearning, and we lose sight of the calling we have been given in Christ.

A person caught in this can be fully of busyness, always rushing around, always trying to do more and more, always wanting to hear what this person or that person thinks or is doing.  Or they can be caught in despair, no longer caring, no longer loving, no longer confident God is really at work.

This isn’t about ‘clinical depression’ because a lot of people living within acedia can seem very full of life and optimistic. But they are oriented in their wants and their wants are driving them in constant frenzy.  Or it can look like depression, but has a culpable quality because it is embraced as being identity and objective perspective.

Wants drive us to frenzy.

So often we take our yearnings and turn them into temporary satisfactions, drinking sea water when we’re caught on the ocean in a life boat.

Hope leads us to peace.

Real hope, substantive hope, is a driving vision of the future in which we find our self satisfied in a deep sense.

Hope isn’t just about our wants, though often our wants are folded into the bigger vision of our hope.  Hope is salvation because what we need, what we most need, is something far too many people have despaired to ever find.

Who am I?  Who can I trust?  Am I a real person?

The hope offered in Christ gives answers to these questions, an inviting answer of welcoming into a new community of eternally valued life.

We don’t have to strive to prove ourselves having worth. God love us.

We don’t have to give into the patterns of the world and the ways it says we have to establish our identity or order to find approval or acceptance.  We have value in Christ.

We don’t have to fight or undermine others in order to show ourselves stronger, wiser, better.  We have a place at God’s table, sharing and laughing and singing with others.

Hope is an orientation because it provides a vision that addresses all the concerns and questions in life. It gives us something beyond us to focus on, and keeps us from indulging the whims, distractions, sins that undermine our love of others.

Eschatologies that are established in anxiety or fear always push toward dysfunctional communities because they are rooted in a perspective of the world and the flesh.  They are eschatologies of want: wanting to escape, wanting to dominate, wanting to indulge.

An eschatology that is rooted in substantive hope offers a different path through life.

Patience, because frenzy isn’t God’s way.

Perseverance, because the present frustrations aren’t in control.

Joy, because in walking with the Spirit we experience a new kind of life in every moment.

Gentleness, because it’s not our will we’re fighting for but seeking that God’s will be done.  And God is full of grace.

Hope is the path of keeping in step with the Spirit, the way of understanding that life is much bigger and much deeper and much livelier than the wan attempts the world celebrates.

And because of this bigger vision of life, we grow in our capacity to love with the very love God resonates, seeking the best for others, seeking their fullness and possibility.

No longer anxious, we can also find rest, celebrating the Sabbath as a weekly expression of our deep, if sometimes disciplined, hope in God’s eternal presence.

Is hope leading you this day? If not, what is driving your sense of self and decisions?

Where are the areas of frustration or distraction in your life? Are you doing things to prove yourself to others (or to your own self)?  How is the hope we find in God’s Great Story helping you to navigate the crises within your community?

Stop for a little bit right now.

Pray for peace. Pray for rest.

Pray that despite all indications the world throws at us, we can hope with a genuine hope that transcends all possibilities because the Spirit is at work and Christ is with us.

Thanks be to God.

 

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Maybe Evangelicals are more like Pannenberg and Progressives are more like Moltmann

There’s a tendency in human thinking to assume that knowledge tends toward a binary: either right or wrong, good or bad, left or right, we are helping or we are hurting, us versus them. There can be nuances within broad positions, but it seems popular to assume the positions themselves cannot share the stage of truth.  Some may admit to the possibility of a third position, taking good points from each side and forming a synthesis that then gets at what is best.

However, these aren’t necessarily the only options, and indeed in both theology and science we find a fair bit more complexity, even to the point of approaching paradox. Jesus is not either God or man, nor is he (in orthodox terms) a curious synthesis of both God and man.  He is fully God and fully man.  Light is not either particle or wave, nor is it (in scientific terms) a curious middle ground between particle and wave. It is both particle and wave.  It’s an odd assertion, but true nevertheless.

True with light and maybe true with politics. As crazy as that latter point might sound, it really seems true when I think about the different ways Pannenberg and Moltmann approached political theology. Moltmann is more well known, so I’m going to focus now on Pannenberg.

Wolfhart Pannenberg burst onto the scene in 1961 (in a way that theologians were able to burst onto scenes in the mid-twentieth century that they’re not in our era) with his contribution to a collection of essays on the revelation of history. That little volume, of which fifty-eight pages of the hundred-eighty-page book were written by Pannenberg, was a significant foray in the battle for a post-Barthian theology.

History was knowable and history was the domain of God’s revelation, an indirect revelation in which the activities of God displayed his own character and oriented humanity toward transformation. This revelation is on its way to the eschaton, and yet this revelation was not human initiatives nor dependent on a linear, progressive view of time. It was God’s revelation from the future, that expressed God’s being through God’s rule, an inbreaking of the Kingdom of God that interacted and reorients our experience of life, the universe, and everything.

This Kingdom is, by definition, political, because that’s what kingdoms are.

Later, amidst his sometimes shockingly prolific work, he took a sustained interest in theological anthropology. This interest was not new, but the way he poured into it was unique among theologians. His Anthropology in Theological Perspective is a tour de force of engaging theology and the social sciences, illustrating Pannenberg’s goal of thoroughly public theology that draws deeply from a broad range of writing and unapologetically Christian perspective that assumes that theology is a contributing partner to every discussion.

God made the world, after all, and truth is thus oriented by that reality. At this time, that’s more of a hypothesis in a sustained research program, though one that defined Pannenberg’s whole theological project.  In that major text, as well as throughout many other smaller texts that explore shared themes, Pannenberg included discussions about politics and social responsibilities.

Yet, for the most part, while his contemporary and theological complement, Moltmann, needs no preface to discussing his political theology, Pannenberg tends to be almost entirely left out of that category.

There’s two reasons for this. The first is that Pannenberg was particularly anti-Marxist in an age in which Marxism was becoming dominant in academic analysis and definitive in political theologies in particular.  He was a supporter of Ronald Reagan and saw both capitalism and America as positives.

In his autobiography, Moltmann puts it this way: “We both, each in his own way, tried to do theology in the light of Christ’s resurrection. But although my idea of promise and his idea of anticipation show theoretical correspondences, the practical consequences we drew in politics could unfortunately be completely contrary to each other.” (106)

The second reason Pannenberg has been left out is that Pannenberg is not particularly focused on the practical engagement of theology in specific ways. That is, his focus is more on coherent orthodoxy than orthopraxy.  Political theology in our era tends to be less concerned about theory and more about what we should do in light of our theological assumptions and mandates.  It may be reflection still, but it is reflection on praxis.

In light of these issues, that Pannenberg tended to be a supporter of the kinds of Anglo-European politicians that political theologians were increasingly reviling and that his theology isn’t oriented toward specific social actions, his contributions became increasingly left out of conversations and texts.

Add to this that in his later career he became less interested in the social sciences and more interested in dialogue with the so-called hard sciences it is not surprising that his contributions to political theology are not well-discussed.

Pannenberg was far from silenced on the topic of politics. He contributed in both German and English publications, with his American voice taking shape especially in the pages of the journal First Things, which shared Pannenberg’s intellectual fervor and conservative perspective.

All this to say, Pannenberg was both a theological heavyweight, especially on the topics related to anthropology, and a political conservative. These were cohesive positions for him. That is why coming to terms with his thinking is very helpful for understanding how someone like Franklin Graham can argue his politics is not only consistent with but also reflective of his long standing Christian commitments to both evangelism and social action around the world.

Wolfhart Pannenberg’s approach to history might be called Hegelian influenced, but it is far from being Hegelian in substance. Rather than being an idealist about human progress, Pannenberg is better considered a historical realist. His well-developed hamartiology is at the root of his anthropology, and defines sin as being misplaced identity, finding meaning and value in that which is not God.

God’s revelation in history orients humanity to finding their identity in God once more. That is the hope for the world, and it is expressed in the love God has for each particular person.  The priority is always on the freedom of the particular to find oneself again within the orienting presence of the divine, and in this to no longer be captive to egocentric impulses to define their self or assert their self over against others, but rather to live in exocentric freedom with others, which is the orientation of the Kingdom of God.

Humanity is made open to the world, rather than closed off to it and to others, and this requires the element of freedom to be maintained. The historic tendency is for rulers or systems to attempt to dominate social context, and in this to define meaning for each person and manipulate their needs.

As the manipulator influences the consciousness of meaning, the result is a humanity cut off from its true self and instead locked into temporal assumptions about human meaning that always depersonalizes and misdirects a person away from their true self.

The one who controls the social narrative controls the orientation of the systems in the environment and that is why, as Pannenberg puts it in his book The Church (19) “the model of human community which the Christian church is to represent dare not be indebted to human lordship for its unity, but only to the lordship of God himself.”

Pannenberg’s strong emphasis on human freedom requires orienting sociality in God, as only God provides the orienting substance that can be sustained through eternity.  This non-idealism leads to his critique of Marxism, which he argues begins with a distinct anthropology and so utilizing Marxism can not be excused simply by ignoring its atheistic elements.

In other words, it’s not the perspective on God that is Pannenberg’s main problem with Marxism, it is its perspective on humanity, which he argued assumed a narrow perspective on human life and meaning that also, by definition, excluded finding holistic meaning in God’s identity.

Instead of seeing politics, and human thriving, through the lens of Marxist anthropology, Pannenberg emphasizes a version of human life in which sociality is best expressed through particularity.

A person who has been transformed by God moves out of the egocentric bluster and into an exocentric experience of life, in which one is free to be who they have been made to be and, in this, being expressive in participating with the freedom of others. Such a situation is best enacted in the context where a thoroughly Christian anthropology is given space to be developed in its wide diversity and expressed through immediate relationships (which create a web of interconnectivity across social boundaries)

Thus, Pannenberg also has a distinct understanding of what freedom entails. It is not a free-for-all of justifying sin-drenched distractions. Nor is it simply a fetishization of individualism, though Pannenberg’s defense of private property has raised that charge.  Instead, it is important to protect freedom of each person so they can express their freedom in the lordship of Christ, not the lordship of a system or government.

Thus, Pannenberg supported conservative politics as he saw that system as de-emphasizing social control over people and maximizing possibilities of expression, within which those who were oriented in Christ could then be most free to express this life in holistic ways.  It is the transformative identity of Christ in a transformed people that call out a new pattern of free mutuality, substantive reciprocity and recognition of one another as fully formed people.

This expression is political as it involves the whole experience of life together, but it is not established on false claims of meaning that can come from bureaucratic definitions or governmental allegiances.  It is an expression of the Kingdom of God at work among us, a proleptic experience of that which can only be fully realized in the eschaton.

In this, we can see Pannenberg’s emphasis on theology from below taking on an eschatological orientation.  Rather than seeing social change as demanding revolution or authoritarian demands, Pannenberg is strongly anti-authoritarian for the sake of the Kingdom.

The Kingdom works in the midst of a transformed people who live transformed lives in the power of the Spirit. It is “theocentric from below” in approach, idealizing God’s intervention and revelation among particular people and contexts, rather than “anthrocentric from above,” which generalizes human society and attempts to enforce patterns of resolution onto people.

Attempts to impose an ideology from above results in continued identity distortion and eventual social conflict, even if in the short term there are immediate solutions. He points to the historical evidence of communist countries, and how their idealistic rhetoric does not result in social equality but devolves into authoritarian and bureaucratic oppression.  In emphasizing a collective humanity, it dehumanizes particular people as part of the process, allowing for

The Kingdom participates with the Spirit who works through history, not primarily through a “World-Historical” figure but in the midst of the infinite complexity of particular beings, who finding their identity in Christ live out the Kingdom in manifold ways. Thus it is more like a fractal working from the inside, which insists on genuine conversion to the identity of Christ for a new way of life in the midst of the world.

This is not as dramatic nor as immediate a result as happens through top-down implementation whether through political parties or, in extreme cases, revolution. The argument is that it is, however, more thorough and resistant to false promises or corrupted participants.

In many ways it reflects the political theology of the ante-Nicene church, rather than the post-Constantinian church that sought quicker change of both theology and practices through government-enforced mandates.

This slow-change may seem stifling and ineffective, however, as church historian Alan Kreider recently put it, this emphasis on transformation from below was a “patient ferment” in the society that led to substantive lasting changes in the long term.


I wrote the above about 4 years ago as part of an invited series on theologians and their political theology. I’m reposting it with these thoughts because of a little conversation I was having on Twitter.

This isn’t to argue for, let alone defend, any specific political solution we’re faced with these days. More it is to suggest that underlying the media-driven reductionism of different demographics actually misses a key issue in political theology.

There’s not a binary in which two sides are being taken in a shared understanding of Christian calling, rather there’s a distinctly different underlying methodology at work which can confuse even the most esteemed academics. Those who only see one kind of goal of politics and only see solutions moving through this, want to deride the other side for making the wrong choice or ignoring the broader mandate. Meanwhile, the other side derides the former for its own political blindness to what are seen as a more narrow range of particularly politically charged issues.

Both sides charge the other with being non-Christian, hating Jesus, and maybe in league with the devil.

This all goes to exactly why CS Lewis so sharply protested a particular “Christian” party in the mid-20th century. There can be shared goals and distinctly different solutions proposed.  More, understanding how Pannenberg and Moltmann could share so much in common and yet come to very different political positions is a reminder for us all that our closest compatriots in the Gospel may be quite far away from us politically.

I know this has been clear to me. I have a lot more in common with some people I disagree with politically than many of those who might share my political leanings.  Probably why I’m not quick to betray my Evangelical or Progressive brethren in order to gain points in popular media or the academy.

To say that one side hates life or hates the poor or hates choice is really just giving into the kind of partisan rhetoric that the political system pushes on us to make us think it is the only solution. It’s only interested in its own perpetuation and wants us to ignore that in places where any side has power there, oddly, still remains the same problems.

This is precisely the choice Jesus refused to make, not choosing the Pharisees, or the Romans, or the Zealots.  He had his own way that wasn’t going to gain anything by offering his allegiance to them.

Know that I’m writing this now because I’m used to the Christian Right falling into this trap but now see those I respect on the other side mirroring the same kind of rhetoric they said they used to dislike.

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Take control

I’m thinking the big problem with 2020 for most of us is that we’ve willingly handed over our emotions for other people to control, then blame them for leading us like slaves to their whims.

Some people are dealing with huge problems to be sure. But most of us are frenzied up because of what might happen or how we see others misbehaving in whatever way interrupts us

It’s road rage leaking into every part of our life.

Be still today.

Stillness is not betraying our causes, it keeps us focused on the prize and says our emotions are ours to control.

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Juneteenth

I value that Juneteenth is getting a lot more broader attention these days. It’s a really important day in American history, not so much this particular day (which was when the Emancipation Proclamation became applied in Texas) but as part of a long process of freedom for slaves. In many ways it is like the Declaration of Independence, which wasn’t signed all on one day, but we pick a day to honor what it set in motion.

For about 30 years, any time I’ve been asked about my favorite movie, I have immediately responded with Glory.  Don’t believe me? The soundtrack was the first CD I ever owned (before I even had a CD player) and the VHS tape was likewise the first I owned, and that was when videotapes were priced for rental, so it cost quite a bit (a gift I deeply wanted and got for a holiday).

That movie hit me in so many ways and came at a time in my life when I was seriously into Civil War history.  If you don’t know it, it’s a movie about the first regular army Black regiment in the Civil War. It stars Matthew Broderick, but the key role really is played by Denzel Washington, who won an Oscar for best supporting actor. 

I liked it then and now because it was such a good portrayal of the Civil War, maybe still among the best, and also because it entered into the complexity of the experiences of the time, both among whites and blacks, who all came to the field of battle with vastly different journeys.

It shows how there was mixed motives for the war but also how deeply the abolitionist movement was behind all that happened.

It also shows the complexity of responses within that movement, with some advocating for equal treatment and others committed to a paternalism.

I think especially of the contrasting scene where the Massachusetts 54th is sent to support another Union regiment in the South which was made up of freed slaves, which they called contraband. Both regiments were ‘free’ but the 54th expressed a dignity and commitment by the soldiers and the officers together.

It isn’t an easy movie to watch, especially in contemporary climate where likely much of the raw treatment shown wouldn’t be allowed. Though it really is tamed down compared to what life was like for far too many.

I’ve since learned that I have family on both sides who fought on both sides of this war, so it’s a story that deeply intersects my own heritage in deeply thought provoking ways.

What I really loved about it then was the message of hope within the struggle, the message of perseverance, of fighting for a cause even when there are enemies both on the outside and the inside.  It digs into the deep trauma and emotions such trauma continue in and yet has this inspiring message of working together within patterns of injustice that lead to movements of hope.

The message of Juneteenth brings this all back, and so we’re likely watching this movie again this evening.  It’s not an easy story, and the deeply troubling message is how the moment of freedom and possibility that came out of the Civil War eventually, far too quickly, devolved into cowardly treatment of former slaves and blacks all over the country.  It also points to how violence may solve an immediate problem but there’s a need for deeper transformation too, which Glory also gets into.

Humanity and human history are complex, and we rightly critique the ways sin distorts, co-opts, and then controls our society in systemic and personal ways. But in the midst of this there are glimpses of liberation and people of all kinds of backgrounds who fight for that liberation.

Even if the battles aren’t always one, there’s such a need to honor those moments where freedom broke through and to find renewed hope for the moments we encounter in our age.

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The Hope of Pentecost

Today we celebrate Pentecost, which is a day that people from many nations heard words of hope to share together in a new experience of humanity. This is not a hope the world offers or a hope the world can pull off on its own. The world offers only more reasons to divide and rage.

The miracle is not the tongues, but the possibility there’s a new way that languages, races, nations, cultures are no longer reasons to hate but become ways of hope and sharing. Too often even the church has used language of peace to inflict chaos and spread more chaos widely.

Today is the day we remember there is a way of unity because of diversity and a way of deep peace that overcomes injustices and promises wholeness as individuals and as a community. But it is also a day we remember the world cannot and will not do it on their own. I have little hope people will do better. I have hope the Spirit can and does bring the Kingdom among us even now.

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Considering the Cross

The cross is everywhere in our culture.  The legacy of many centuries of Christendom, where it was a marker of faith, then became a marker of culture, ethnicity, power.  A symbol of rejection and punishment becomes the marker of acceptability.  That which Paul once called “A scandal to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks,” is a topic awash in Christianese, the insider language that has spiritual sounding phrases that often are unintelligible to those outside of Christianity and often bereft of real meaning for those inside.

The cross has become fashion, first for buildings then for people.  We are scandalized when people find it a scandal. We declare fools those who find it foolish.  It has become a prop for us in religious and culture wars.

Still a source of meaning for those who seek salvation, it has been co-opted by others for their own purposes that differ than those of Christ.

Our familiarity with it as a topic in Christian theology is good, it is one of the central themes that mark an Evangelical faith. Yet, our familiarity with it also is bad, as we play into the cultural assumptions that linger from Christian domination. Talk about the cross, scandalously, has become glib. Which is likely a big reason why we in the West are in a post-Christian context.

The glib ubiquity has inoculated many of those who grew up near the church or in it.  They think they know the Gospel, and the gospel they encountered had no power.

Peter was afraid during the trial and crucifixion, so he denied Jesus.  He experienced the confrontations of power and didn’t trust Jesus would be the victor.

In our era, people deny Jesus because they don’t see the reason for the bother.  The cosmic confrontation has been reduced to a personal preference: Which ice cream flavor is your favorite? What is your favorite sports team? What religion do you follow?

The cross has been co-opted and we in the church have let it, even encouraged it, wanting to use Jesus for our own ends, to support our own priority and power and influence.  We’ve become the sorts of people who put Jesus on the cross, wanting to be wise to the culture and gain approval from the religious.

This week, let us consider the cross in a fresh way.  Think about what it meant as an act, as an experience. Think about what it means in your life, how we encounter hardship, or struggle, or temptation.  Think of the cross in social terms: who did Jesus include? Think in terms of strategy: how did God go about saving the world?

The cross is a confrontation, a strike against our patterns of social and intellectual assumptions.  The cross is a salvation, a salvation for our inner state of existential sinfulness, and a salvation from our external state of social divisions and manipulations.

Atonement is the doctrine of this salvation, being restored to at-one-ment with God and with others, love begetting love. The cross is the act-speech of atonement that declares God’s radical love for the cosmos, sending the Son to die, gathering all those who have been condemned to death, and inviting them to be reborn.

We become new, losing the strongholds and hangups of spiritual, social, and psychological dysfunction as we find our identity in the scandalous and foolish wisdom of God.

This wisdom transcends human wisdom and attempts to find meaning in our ego’s limited perspective.  Because of this the cross is an invitation to let go. It is a confrontation, drawing a line between the way of God and the ways of the systems of this world. The latter promise meaning and value and life, but it is only the way of God that can fulfill such promises.

What promises are we indulging that run counter to the cross?

What promises are we pushing against because we are afraid of the cross or dismissive of it?

Who are we crucifying in the name of an insufficient theology of the cross?

How have we co-opted the cross for our purposes?

What is the meaning of the cross in our present society and how can we reinstill a sense of its scandal and foolishness so that it has the confronting power once more?

That is the topic of this week.  If it’s not challenging or difficult, even to those of us who are familiar with it, then we’re not getting into the depths of what it means and what it calls for.  Ecce homo. Ecce deus. 

Read: Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53; Matthew 26-27; 1 Corinthians 1:10-31


In my seminary courses, I provide a weekly reflection on each topic of study, a way to get students thinking not only about the content but also the implications of it in their life and how it relates to their context. This week in my theology course, we’re talking about the crucifixion.

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Dear Lord of Light

Read: Psalm 97

Dear Lord of Light, when the shadows surround me, and all becomes dark I begin to wonder where to go, who to be. I lose a sense of direction.

The old lights have gone dim, and don’t offer me a way.

They have gone out, and in my impatience, I am rustled by despair. You have not grown dim, and in this new day, this new month, may we see your fire burn brightly anew.

May you lead us and may we be faithful.

May your fire burn away our sins and wastes, so that we may press forward to new pastures, to feasting and celebrating your ever-renewing goodness, dancing with hope around your promise, with you now and into eternity.

Amen.

This year, Fuller employees have been invited to write prayers to share with the community, each taking a week or two. This is my week, and I’ll be posting the prayers I wrote for each day.  The pictures are from my morning walk each day.  This post was also inspired in theme by the ancient Irish festival of Beltane.  

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Dear Lord of Truth

Read: Psalm 25

Dear Lord of Truth, you have called us into fullness of life and shown us the way of wisdom.  This is the way of your kingdom, one that enters into this world, into every system and every community.

Your Spirit awakens us and enlightens us to be people of truth, not giving into the temptation to hide behind dishonesty or depend on deception.

May we have courage today and this week to be such people of truth in every part of our lives, to be willing to call out sins in our selves and in our communities as well as be willing to speak the truth of your love and hope to those who are bombarded by the lies of the chaotic world.

This isn’t our truth, this is the truth your Spirit speaks. So, may we discern not only what is true but also how to speak and show truth so that your presence is magnified in each of our settings.

Give us the humility to be open to hearing truth and give us patience when truth seems discarded. In you we put our trust.

Amen.

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Dear Lord of Peace

Read: Psalm 104

Dear Lord of Peace, you have made a place for us.

This can be hard to remember when instead of feeling peace, we feel the chaos all around. Everything seems unsettled, our jobs, our health. We wonder when we can again do any of the things we used to take for granted.

You have not forgotten us and you are not aloof.  Rather than be caught up in the frenzy, may we sit at the table you have prepared and sit a spell in your presence, listening and laughing and relaxing.

Ease our tension, calm our hearts, direct our wayward thoughts that want to always hurry here and there.

May we be in the moment, present with you and present with those in our lives, whether we are with them physically or whether we are gathering together through technology.

However we gather, may your Spirit ever remind us that you are gathering with us, and that you truly love us.

Amen.

This year, Fuller employees have been invited to write prayers to share with the community, each taking a week or two. This is my week, and I’ll be posting the prayers I wrote for each day.  The pictures are from my morning walk each day.  

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Dear Lord of Hope

Read: Psalm 107

Dear Lord of Hope, thank you. From the depths of my being, thank you.  For the people in my life, thank you. For the opportunities you have given me, thank you.

For rescuing me from problems in the past, thank you. For being present in the challenges of the present, thank you.

Santa Rosa Island rocky shore

Hope in you isn’t naïve. It’s not a sad yearning for some dream world.

Hope in you is powerful because of the works you have done, the invitation you give to press on even when our faith stumbles and our courage falters.

We press on not in our strength, but because you have shown how faithful you are.

We cling to you now in this season where we don’t know how to plan and are caught in struggles that seem too deep to bear.

May we remember your ways, and may we press on to take hold of that for which you have taken hold of us.

Amen.

This year, Fuller employees have been invited to write prayers to share with the community, each taking a week or two. This is my week, and I’ll be posting the prayers I wrote for each day. 

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