During our Great 50 Days of Stewardship, as we've looked at what it means to be a people of the resurrection, we've talked about money, service, debt, and power. As the season begins to wrap up, the tendency, as I wrote yesterday, is to go back to money. It is the unfortunate side effect of the co-opting of the word "stewardship."
But the more I think about it, the more I think this week's focus is stewardship of hope. Next to the very breath we breathe, God's gift of hope is the greatest gift creation has been given. Imagine life without it. All that's left when we die is the crematory furnace or the bugs. All that's left when we struggle is the same crap on a different day. All that's left, when we are without hope, is despair.
Peter, in his instructions to the persecuted diaspora, calls each and every Christian to "Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence." To turn the language around, we are to always be ready to be stewards of hope.
There are two cliche questions that come to mind this morning.
1. If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
2. If your church were to close its doors, would anybody outside of the parish directory care?
If the answers to 1 and 2 are both "yes," then being good stewards of hope, ready to give an account of the hope that is within you, will be necessary. People will ask questions. "Why did you respond that way?" "Why are you here?" "What causes you to be so peaceful?" Whatever.
If the answers are no. Well then perhaps we should first figure out if hope exists at all. If it does, then our response should be the follow the commandments of Jesus, which will then necessarily lead us to be good stewards of hope.
As TKT said on Sunday, Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us so that we can get to work in the meantime.