Hello, HOPE-lovers and welcome to Transformation Tuesday!
“Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate.” ~ G.K. Chesterton
I know everyone is talking about the tragedy in Las Vegas. I truly pray that this post is not simply more noise in the already crowded media stream. I am writing on this topic because it is here that we are vividly reminded of our need for HOPE.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. ~ Romans 12:15
I have included some videos highlighting the silver lining in all of this horror. I have chosen them in efforts to both inform and inspire.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:26
With dramatic fashion, we all have been reminded of the miracle, beauty, dignity, value, and sacredness of life.
Jesus taught His disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Jesus embodied this reality on behalf of the entire world hours after saying this.
The image-bearing miracle was awakened this weekend where “strangers” became friends who paid the ultimate price. Because of our image-bearing privilege, the worst is always followed by the best.
“Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.” ~ Malcolm Muggeridge
It’s never convenient to discuss difficult things. Whether it’s a national crisis or a family squabble, too often we defer solutions until it’s too late. Inaction feeds habituation, and sooner or later, we embrace “the way it is,” which then foretells the way it will be.
In times of tragedy, I always ask myself, “So, what is the Lord saying here?” Perhaps, you do as well.
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” C. S. Lewis
God is not only speaking, He is shouting here (I think). And this morning, I believe I heard some of what He is communicating.
The message came from a Jewish rabbi on the news. Of all things he shared, he chose to quote the half-brother of Jesus, James, who wrote, “…faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17)
If you know anything about the context of James 2, the reason why James calls faith “dead” is partially because a useless, inactive faith produces death to those around us.
With that in mind, what do we do? We cannot control the actions of another, but what CAN we do ourselves?
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. ~ James 4:17
Love her or hate her, I wanted to include this video featuring Lady Gaga because she gets to the issue behind the issues.
She highlights the craftiness of evil and how it manifests in our lives — division, blameshifting, and labels, which ultimately lead to destruction.
Whenever evil spits in our face, we cannot simply reduce the matter to color, race, religion, politics, socio economic status, sexuality, mental health or gun ownership. This is how evil wins.
She reminds us that we are unified in our humanity. And we all appreciate kindness, therefore, we must operate relentlessly in this way. And lastly, she exhorts us to become like children for they are not jaded and actually believe the world can change.
In closing, I want to share a poem that has meant a lot to me, especially in times like these. I first heard it at a friend’s funeral who was killed in a hit and run accident ten years ago.
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow, and soonest our best men with thee do go, rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, and dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell, and poppy or charms can make us sleep as well and better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally and death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
By John Donne
“If you look for the helpers, you will know that there is HOPE.” ~ Mr. Rogers
Let us look but also consider how to become instruments of HOPE today and all of our days.