You may write me down in history, with your bitter, twisted lies.
You may trod me in the very dirt but still like dust, I rise.
It is autumn, a season of real, visible, and melancholy change. As I consider this season, I feel called to remember also that this world of God’s is filled with hope.
In the Letter to the Romans, Paul teaches that hope is a gift inextricably linked to the whole human experience. “We …boast in our sufferings,” he says, “knowing suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces HOPE, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit…”(5:1-5)
So we believe that hope is not some unanchored, vague feeling of optimism. No, it is a gift from God and it is as real as love and pain. Hope is persistent and strong and tied to God’s Spirit.
Later in his letter, Paul returns to hope once more. “Let love be genuine…do not lag in zeal, rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer,” (12:9, ff.) he tells us. Please note, there is a hint here in Paul’s words. He says “persevere in prayer.” That teaches us that we can ask for hope. It may be a gift of the Spirit but like any other gift, we can put it on our wish list!
Finally, Paul adds a prayer of his own for us. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
In Maya Angelou’s poem above, we are given a sense that she has reached a level of understanding that allows her to see herself with God’s eyes and that ability has brought her freedom and joy. It has also given her the power of the Spirit to rise (despite all odds). So, today, that is what I wish for each of us…that in this time of autumn change we may join in the hope filled resilience of the Spirit.
Love & blessings,