Listen to: Dixie Chicks, "I Hope" ALERT: This video contains some graphic images of the impact of war, violence and abuse: do not let children watch, don't watch if such images upset you. It is a powerful video, nonetheless.
Here is a link to a benign version with lyrics:
Soon we will begin our first week of Advent (December 2), when we are asked to reflect on hope. Our new church year is anchored in hope. Despite what we have lived through or what we have done, we are given hope to start again. When we hope, we open our hearts to let God work in us and through us, to create a new present.
Hope makes it possible to trust and believe God's promises to us -- God plans for our welfare, to get better, to have God's vision for us unfold. God works in ways we sometimes can't comprehend...so we are given hope to trust in the new "now" and unfolding future God claims for us.
Some may think using the Dixie Chicks' "I Hope," is unfitting for our Advent season. Yet this song strikes a deep chord in me. The images of violence used in the first video are difficult to watch -- but I know they are true and not gratuitous This is what humanity has done to each other -- to the world. Children are being gassed at the borders. Other children are being sold so their family can have food. Some migrant children are still separated from their families after weeks, months.
It all conveys the brokenness of our efforts. The tears come as I see the hurt and fear -- knowing Jesus was born into the world for this. There is a weariness that conflict and grief has taken its toll on us. Yet God uses his written word, his Incarnate Word - Jesus, and the children of the world, to lead us to peace-making. Peace-making is more than stopping wars. It is building wholeness, working for reconciliation among peoples, bringing security, healing and health for others. That's kingdom living as Jesus taught and called us to. Hope is the necessary ingredient to igniting the power of peace making. Hope is a gift from God -- and in light of the trauma of violence and war -- it is a powerful tool necessary for peace-making and building the kingdom of God. Let us never forget this. For this, I Hope.
This video reminds me of how my own heart has been touched and broken by the violence. How has your heart been touched? We are connected -- so today, let us together form a community of hope -- we help each other hope, we pray for hope, and we act in hope to make our lives more peaceful and loving. God doesn't give up -- so we shall not either. That's how we change the world. One hopeful heart, one hopeful community, at a time.
PRAY: "Lord, You are the hope for our world. Make us be vessels of your hope in our war-weary, conflicted world."