Memories, events, births, deaths, discoveries — these and many other items stand out in our memories, especially this last year.
“I will never forget when…”
These few words contain so much.
“The baby was born!”
These words bring joy to family of many generations.
“I’m coming home!”
Good news of the release of a person from the hospital who was intubated, recovered enough to be released, brings joy and hope to a family.
“… has died!”
This sort of news burns into a heart and brain and lasts — 500,000 deaths — heard so often and painfully by so many!
We continue living.
We continue believing.
We continue hoping.
We continue working and believing in a better tomorrow.
Centuries ago, Jeremiah when a community, a nation was devastated, with no seen hope for the future.
YET he wrote because of his belief and life in a God who was in his life “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29.11 NIV)
Cause for a cautious hope after a six month visit/evaluation with my pulmonologist— lung capacity better than last year — an slightly animated YES while keeping faithful to the pulmonologists’s orders.
This hope rests on facts and the interpretation of data.
Multiple uses of a word manifests that the word is important. Hope is such a word in the Bible where, according to diverse sources, “hope” appears 131 times.
In English, hope is a somewhat abstract idea of expectation.
In Hebrew (tikvah), however, is more concrete, meaning expectation, cord or rope, coming from a root word that means to bind or to wait for or upon.
Expectation based upon what in the case of science.
While anniversary, birthday, or something similar may come to mind, today is not another Wednesday, it is Ash Wednesday.
Ashes on foreheads!
“Remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return” accompanies the action of ashes being put on the forehead.
While this sounds ominous and chilling, this reminder of our mortality, the fragility of life starts Lent.
When viewed through another lens, our sight offers us an insight and path to hope.
One religious leader expressed this path to hope in the following way: “We’ve had a lot of deprivation. We’ve had a lot of folks losing jobs, everyone’s time getting stretched, people having gotten more responsibilities within their families, relationships going through a lot of big transitions. What I’m trying to focus on is the idea of Lent as a season of preparation to celebrate and Lent as a time to really prepare for that hope that is coming.”
(Rev. Tiffania Icaza Willets, Seminole Heights United Methodist Church)
A hope that is coming, something to look forward to.
What can we look forward to: vaccination shot, spending physical face to face time with those we love, Easter or…?
What do I, you, and all of us in this time of preparation for the hope that IS coming?
In a time when we focus on the new, the present, sometimes the long view may be the wise view.
The “yet to come” view is well expressed in the following.
Dear Ann Landers:
Several readers, as well as some family members, sent me this same piece. Some said they got it off the Internet. It has been attributed to Roger William Thomas.
It is indeed a heart-warmer, and I am printing it with pleasure: Keep Your Fork
A woman was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given three months to live. She asked her pastor to come to her home to discuss her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at her funeral, and what scriptures to read, and which outfit she wanted to be buried in.
Then she said, “One more thing. I want to be buried with a fork in my hand.”
The pastor was surprised. The woman explained, “In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, `Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite time, because I knew something better was coming, like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie — something wonderful. So, I want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and wonder, ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then, I want you to tell them, `Keep your fork, because the best is yet to come.”‘
The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he bid the woman goodbye. He realized that she had a better grasp of heaven than he did and knew something better was coming.
At the funeral, when people asked him why she was holding a fork, the pastor told them of the conversation he’d had with the woman before she died. He said he could not stop thinking about the fork and knew they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it, either. He was right.