Confessing Christ Bloggers
May 29

Written by: gfackre
5/29/2008 9:03 AM

Christian hope rises from its Story of Hope. How different from Greek fatalism, Nietzschean despair, current hopelessnesses, and contemporary false hopes! Consider the plot.

It begins in eternity. As noted, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God….” (John 1:1) The Greek term, Logos, translated here as “Word” actually had 1300 meanings in the ancient world: purpose, , plot, vision, dream,…hope…. Against this background and borrowing a bit from Martin King, might we say, “God had a Dream.” Or in our idiom here, “In the beginning was the Hope…”

Hope for what? What God wills/hopes is inextricable from who God is. In Christian faith God is the triune God, three Persons, Father, Son and Spirit in absolute mutuality-- a loving Life Together. Or in the simple summary of 1 John 4:8: “God is love.”

As God is Life Together, the Hope of God and the final Word for the world is “life together.” The Christian Story as narrated in Scripture, then later laid out in the three acts/paragraphs that is the drama of the ancient creeds is the plot that moves toward that End. The Christian Story series , of which this blog aims to be the germ of Volume 6, follows that plotline. Here is a brief look seen through the lens of hope.

If the doctrine of God as Trinity is the prologue, then chapter 1 is “creation.” God brings to be a world of nature, human nature and even a “supernature” of powers and principalities. We are called to be—in divine hope-- a life together with God and one another. And humans are even given an image (imago Dei) within them of that life freedom and peace for which they are intended

Chapter 2 in our story is a collision between hope and reality. To God’s outstretched hand (think of Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel—God reaching out to Adam ), the world makes a fist instead of forming a clasp. So comes the NO! to the divine invitation. “Sin” is that fist shaken by humans in the face of God, with its effects and counterparts in the rest of creation. So the stumble and fall of the world. And for us, therefore, also a broken image. Hope is dashed as estrangement happens.

Yet in this story we have to do with a stubborn Hope, a love that will not let us go. Here is a “hope against hope,” one not servile before fact (Bonhoeffer).So comes Chapter 3, and that in two parts.

Part 1 can be portrayed by another picture, a rainbow sign. The self-destructiveness of the fallen world with its attendant divine judgment is not the last Word from the God of Hope. Rather comes the rainbow promise and a covenant with Noah and all the world to keep the Story moving forward. Its blessings include multi-colored hints of life together in creation and in the preservation of that broken but not destroyed image of God in us. Here is a “common grace” that gives enough small rainbow light on the path ahead for all humanity to see and seek something of that life together.

Part 2 of Chapter 3 tells of the rainbow’s end. It lands among one people chosen for a special role in the unfolding drama, and thus a special covenant made. “How odd that God should choose the Jews,” ponders the poet. Yet in the mysterious providence of God, the calls comes to Abraham , captives are freed, the law is given to Moses, prophets, priests and kings arrive on the scene. Hope rises again for a world in which swords and beaten into plowshares, wolf and lion are together and a child puts its hand over an asp’s next—creation as life together! And with this a hope as well for One who will bring it to be.

Chapter 4 is that center of the Story. To be continued.

Copyright ©2008 Gabriel Fackre


Re: Hope: The biblical Story begins

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