“Unlike him, [the dog] retained a kind of hope. Hope is an instinct only the reasoning human mind can kill.” — The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
On Sunday Chandler’s food pantry ran out of milk. Which happens some weeks, but a regular family with a new baby arrived. So I hurried to the store to buy more. On my way to the dairy section, I found Mister E flavor pop tarts. With our Mr. E about to start kindergarten, I had to buy them (I am a sucker and the reason milk is at the back of the store!).
At home the kids were excited to try the mystery. But after one bite, everyone refused another. So I tried one… and the kids are right, these pop tarts are awful. Rather than fruit filling or s’more, I told Meg I thought I tasted garlic. If I had read the ingredients before hand I would have known …
One of my seminary professors lead a book study for graduates on The Power and The Glory by Graham Greene. A fiction book on an outlaw priest (Mexico banned the church in an attempt to become a secular nation). The priest struggles with alcohol and doubt. He wrestles with despair. But as the book moves we realize his despair is not in God, but himself (“God forgive me, I am a proud, lustful, greedy man…”).
And this, knowing God, made all the difference. For in the end you realize the priest was God’s vessel – broken though he was – to bring Jesus to the people.
“I pray that your hearts will be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling.” — Ephessians 1:18
Our hope is not in flesh and blood – certainly not in my ability. Our hope is in the One we serve. As Paul writes, “we have this treasure in jars of clay.” We shatter. Yet God lives in us. His love pours forth!
To know both of these truths is important. That God saves. And I do not.
Often pride lives in the church: If the world just acted like us everything would be okay. As though we can save the world! Admittedly, there are times I think this (I too am broken with pride). But this attitude turns truth upside down. We rewrite Psalm 34:8, taste and see that
God WE are good. And too often Christians taste like garlic pop tarts.
As the church we need to come to truth that we are saved by grace. To be humble. And to point every one to the God who loves them, in all their brokenness. This is our hope.
Join us this Sunday for the start of a new series Resolve. During the year we are reading through the New Testament. And this series will focus on texts from our readings. It will also — in a world that seems bent on destruction — seek Hope. We meet at 10:30, in person with masks or streaming on Facebook and YouTube.