Sunday Sermonizing: A Big, Fat Circle of Hope
This a version of a talk I gave at a funeral this week. (My wife's uncle passed away). This seems a good place to share a bit more widely.
Grace and mercy make it possible for a single life to make a difference.
There is something absolutely glorious and Godlike in the beauty of one life.
The kindness of my wife's Aunt and Uncle. The wisdom of grandmothers. The hard work of great-grandfathers. Each person who goes before us reveals over and over again the beauty and the grace of a single life that outshines nations, cultures, arts, and empires.
Romans 5:1-5 shows how this happens.
 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (ESV)
Our faith in Christ is a big, fat circle of hope.
The upside is everything God has done on our behalf through Christ.
- justify us.
- buy our peace.
- give us access to God - anytime, anywhere.
- give us a standing in grace - ultimately brings us to hope.
These things bring us to a peak. To the pinnacle of the circle.
- Hope in the glory of God.
- Hope in knowing that God will ultimately right every wrong and dry every tear.
- Hope in knowing that (as one writer puts it) everything sad will come untrue.
So, in this life, we respond to hope.
Hope gives us the ability to choose joy in suffering. To know that the inevitability of pain produces something in us.
There's a point to it all.
Endurance and character and good things are produced in us through suffering. Ego is slain. Something is built. The descent to the valley is not in vain because when we arrive at the lowest point of the lowest points, we find something precious there.
Hope that doesn’t disappoint - because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
We rise from hope to hope, because of everything Jesus is for those who believe.
We don’t have a circle of despair. We have a circle of hope that is real. Tangible. Something you can actually walk in today. And tomorrow. And every day that is left in the wildly significant life you've been given to live.
A life that's also far more significant than nations, cultures, arts, and civilizations.
That’s the weight of the glory in which we walk.