Monday, February 20, 2006

Hope, reality, theology and faith

Alan Jamieson writes
Recently I have begun musing about the role of Hope in the Christian message and life. Hope is such a powerful and necessary language and horizon in a western world (and church) without a sense of future or a grounded sense of trust-worthy truth. Here a few musings on hope, reality, theology and faith.

1. Hope as a theological virtue is grounded in the promises of Christ and has as its horizon the coming of Christ in the fullness of time. As St Thomas stated “the good we should chiefly and rightly hope for from God is an unlimited one, matching the power of God who helps us.”

2. A genuine Hope must also be grounded in reality and be willing to face the darkest of possibilities without flinching. “Hope can only be itself if it faces up to the reality of death. Any form of hope that ignored or bypassed the experience of death would be at best repressive optimism.”

3. Christian Hope must always be reasonable (1 Peter 3 v15 – always be ready to give a reason for the hope that lies within you). Here Pannenberg’s strength of analysis comes through – “hence, the Christian hope in God is reasonable. It stands the test of rational inquiry and coheres with human knowledge gained by means of the scientific method. At the same time the reasonable out-look of the Christian is characterized by hope. It is oriented toward the future, whence its point of integration is derived.”

4. Hope is not static. Hope like faith can mature as we journey with God. The sense of hope with which we began our Christian path may change and mature significantly as we learn what a real hope is. Hope moves from a focus on ‘how can I save my soul’ to questions of intimacy ‘to whom and how do I ultimately belong?’ through an other-centred generativity to the mystic sense of hope longing for its consummation in that time when “all shall be well and all manner of being shall be well.”

1 comment:

Mikey's God Talk said...

On hope: great thoughts pasor Mike. Hope always grows

Mike R