HOPE(05): in the everyday
So I’m here at my desk on the week after Easter. It was a wonderful weekend with family, friends and neighbors—lots of laughter and celebration; good food and meaningful conversation. But now the events have passed and as I wake up to the routines of the everyday, this statement continues to hold my attention:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be reborn into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3
While turning this statement over in my mind and allowing it to steep in my imagination, the words “living hope” have stood out as if in bold print. According to this ancient text, the evidence of God’s great mercy and the wonderful consequence the resurrection are the restart of life in the form of a living hope. But what actually is a living hope?
I believe that we all ask a common set of questions as we travel through this life. We ask them in our own vernacular and recast them as we encounter each new chapter of our story, but the questions remain consistent and universal. One of those questions addresses the purpose of life. What is it? Why am I doing what I’m doing? Where does it all lead? How we answer those questions is foundational to how we order our lives. Hope is the label on the mental folder that holds our answers to those questions. Hope is a word that captures what value ahead of us—what adds purpose to our future and calls us toward it.
But what actually is a living hope? This seems to be the great prize won on Easter Sunday. As I have probed into this, I have come away with a couple of insights and one particularly challenging question. They all source from the word that Peter deliberately chose to describe this hope. It’s a word that references a different kind of life; a different experience of life. In this text it describes a different quality and nature of hope.
First insight: This hope is living because we have living proof that everything has changed. This living hope does not source from me and how well I order my life, but from God’s great mercy and a cataclysmic event that changes everything.
Second insight: This hope is living because we have a present experience of it. It pulses within us, marking the cadence of its eternal source. The hope we have been born into is both life-giving and life-sustaining. It provides an alternative answer for the purpose of this life and a dramatic shift to what animates it.
However, there is a challenging question that accompanies these insights. How do I actualize such a hope? How do I keep this hope from becoming a theory that I believe but fail to experience? How do I live the reality of Easter in the everyday?