For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 I love it that this passage from Romans is incorporated into your Eucharistic prayer here at St. Bart’s. Many theologians say that these are their favorite verses in all of Scripture. I have several favorites – well, maybe more than several – but this certainly is one of the top three. Paul’s certainty, Paul’s promise, is so profoundly comforting, reassuring, consoling. Everything I think Christianity should be.
For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:25 Those of you who were here a couple of weeks ago may remember – or may not– that I preached about being prisoners of hope. I talked about hope needing to be enacted; if we are hopeful we are called to live and act out of hope. I drove into Portland after that Sunday service, and the legend on the Time and Temperature Building read Hope Acts. I wondered if Joe, the Call Joe of the Time and Temp Building, was channeling my homily. But I suspect it was just a happy coincidence or very good karma.
“Hear then the parable of the sower.” Matthew 13:18 This is one of the few parables that Jesus explains, but that hasn’t helped commentators understand it! What can we learn from this parable, however uncertain its ultimate meaning?
Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. Zechariah 12:12 Oh prisoners of hope! Prisoners of hope! What does it mean to be a prisoner of hope? Archbishop Desmond Tutu famously calls himself a prisoner of hope. He says, “I’m not optimistic, no. I’m quite different. I’m hopeful. I AM A PRISONER OF HOPE. Hope is being able to see that there is light, despite all of the the darkness.”