I have been wondering lately if hope is a privileged emotion. I came to that question through an interracial dialogue with our campus ministry students. The question which was to wrap up a rich and honest session of sharing was “where do you find hope”? The white students all had answers, perky hopefulness. The African American students were silent.
Hope is a spiritual discipline that is rooted in action. So I stand with the prophet Isaiah, who we hear in the first reading today—“O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains will quake at your presence!” I want to engage that mighty God who “works for those who wait for him.” I want God to fix our broken world.
And yet I know that the possibility of hope for all people comes in my “staying awake”, as Jesus provokes us in the Gospel of Mark. I have to be present to opportunities for justice, for actions that make hope possible for all. Hope is not just for Christians, just for white people, just for me. And I can’t be careless or cavalier about it. I have to be responsible for the hope I can generate.
And…I can’t function without hope. I need it in order to get up every morning. So I am not willing to let it go. Instead, I pray to be worthy of it, and to do the work for hope that God gives me to do.