Signs of Hope

by Deacon Lorna Goodison on November 24, 2021

In addition to many beautiful prayers and reflections, the book, An African Prayer Book, compiled by the Right Reverend Archbishop Desmond Tutu, tells the story of a village outside of Johannesburg, South Africa, in the era when forced population removal schemes were the order of the day. Residents of the village, Mogopa, were ordered to leave their homes to be resettled elsewhere. On the eve of their departure, a prayer vigil was held at the Church and Church leaders across South Africa attended. During the Service, an elder of the seemingly doomed village prayed, “God thank you for loving us so much.” A prayer free of hatred, anger, and worry. Years later, apartheid ended and the Mogopa villagers successfully returned and rebuilt their community. Through the darkness, the people held on to hope and saw the light of God’s love.

This Sunday, we begin a new liturgical year by turning our attention to the season of Advent: a time of discerning light within the darkness, a time of hope and anticipation. Each Sunday we light a candle to remind us that Christ’s Presence is the light that overpowers darkness. Advent means coming and our hope is rooted in our faith in Christ’s threefold comings. First, we celebrate Jesus’ coming to earth in human form as a baby in the manger in Bethlehem to live like us and redeem us from sin. Then we give thanks that Christ comes to us today in the Holy Scriptures and the Sacrament of His body and blood at the Eucharistic table. And we anticipate Christ’s coming again when by His glorious reign when He will overcome all darkness and injustices.

This Sunday’s gospel (Luke 21:25-36) invites us to peer into the dark visions of woe and upheavals presented and discern Christ’s light of hope. Speaking of the end times, Jesus said, “there will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.”  But just as the sprouting of new leaves on the fig tree indicates that summer is near, so too, the upheavals of the world indicate that Christ’s coming to redeem humanity is imminent.  

Advent calls us to be prayerful, watchful, and attentive to our relationship with God, so we are not entrapped by the world’s errors. Christ anticipates that the Church, His Body, will “look up and raise her head” and be proactively engaged in being His instrument of love, grace, and hope. The culmination of our Christian hope is that we may “stand before the Son of Man” and be found “blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.” Amen.

Tags: love, hope, advent, thanks, anticipation

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