Day 1: Stories of Hope
It is amazing to me to realize that somehow, if we pay attention, Scripture draws us to it in ways that are a bit surprising. For some time now, one of those texts for me has been Colossians 1:13-14 which says, “He has rescued us from darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
I will own up to being a bit of a word nerd, but you just can’t overlook that “rescued” and “transferred” are past tense verbs. It is already done! Apparently, “the day the revolution began” to use a book title from N.T. Wright, God did something for us that means our rescue and transfer are done deals. I guess that is why Paul tells the Philippian believers “our citizenship is in heaven.” Not “will be,” but “is.” (Philippians 3:20)
I remember hearing the late Dr. Frank Harrington, who was pastor of Peachtree Presbyterian Church, say one time, “If one more church member tells me that I need to understand what ‘the real world’ is like, I don’t know what I’ll say. The church, not your job or neighborhood, is ‘the real world.’”
That is why we are embarking on a journey this academic year where in hope, we can discover life. You see it is hope that gives us confidence that we really have, in Christ, been rescued and transferred. It is hope that is the convincing story behind my confidence that I am already a citizen of heaven. In hope we are called “to be kingdom people doing kingdom things.”
You see, the real world isn’t the world where Syrian refugees struggle for bread and water every day. It isn’t the world where the threat of nuclear holocaust greets every sunrise. It isn’t the world where humans are treated unjustly just because of their skin tone or economic status. The real world isn’t the world where children go to bed hungry and parents mistreat the lives God has entrusted to them. The real world isn’t the world where the addictive power of opioids capture the will of innocent people. That’s not real in the sense of God’s intentional purpose for the world—it is the world impacted by sin.
No…the real world is the one God intended for humans when He made Adam and Eve. It is the world that Jesus came to redeem, rescue and renew. The real world is the world where in the power of Christ, people of the kingdom of God mark their lives by loving God and loving their neighbor. It is the world in which we hope—with confident assurance—that in Christ we have been rescued and transferred.
Every morning for the next three weeks you will receive in your email a brief story of hope. Some are written by students, faculty, staff, alumni, coaches, and trustees. You are going to hear from a variety of perspectives, but all perspectives marked by the common theme of hope.
May God bless us as we read these stories and pray together that, in hope, He will help us discover life—real life.
“For I know whom I have believed in, and am persuaded that He is able, to keep that which I have delivered to Him until that Day.” -2 Timothy 1:12b
Written by Wye Huxford, Vice President for Spiritual Formation and Dean of the Chapel