How do we maintain hope in the face of a seemingly unending time of strife, violence, and conflict? Seek out beauty, depend upon hope…and dance, even in the face of unending war. Hope does not ignore the struggle, nor does it free us from the scars resulting from our struggles. The people of Israel will always carry the scars of their trauma with them; yet, scars also signify survival.
This relativizes politics into a realm that cannot penetrate or disturb the Christian’s faith or take away our salvation and our hope. This is why the real danger for the Christian is not just biopolitics, but also ideologies that provide an alternative salvation through false gods.
God doesn’t tell us to go out and face death unnecessarily. The Israelites put lamb’s blood on their doorposts, a sign of their trust that God loved them and would spare them. But they knew better than to leave home. That would not have been trusting God, it would have been flouting God’s warnings.
Our only hope is that the God who will raise us, the God whose justice is glorified, will eventually make all things right. Our trust in our just God should be evident in our words and our works as we live out the proclamation of the gospel.
Our societies are built upon the oppression of the poor and marginalised and yet, unless we remove ourselves entirely from the web of cords, laws, taxes, products, and biological needs inherent in twenty-first century life, we are forced to participate in the oppression of others, and the destruction of our habitats. We see, we know that the world is on the brink, yet we cannot escape. Facing such a reality, Jeremiah offers us a way forward: we lament, we express our rage, we retain hope by continuing to call for change, and through it all we never allow ourselves to be numbed or silenced by the enormity of it all.
No matter how established we may think we are in this life, we are always on the way to another. To steady our step and to guide our path, we need to practice hope.
Transformation begins by inspiring—by breathing in—hope. Only then can we exhale justice. In ‘Immanuel’, God’s sign of hope for a desperate world, we find the means by which we can pursue justice.