April 27,2008 6th Easter Year A

Scripture: 1Peter 3:15-18
Psalm 22
John 14:15-21

"Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope". (1Peter 3:15) What is Christian hope? I knew a woman (who since has died) who was confined to a wheel-chair, and had much pain. Yet she always had a smile when she met people. I always felt good after meeting and talking to her. One day I asked her directly: "Sayako-san, why are you always so cheerful?" Her answer left an indelible impression on me. She answered: "I believe Jesus is beside me. Together we keep going." THAT is hope in the concrete.

The hope of a Christian has as its foundation, the central teaching of JesusーGod loves me as I am. He does not love because I am good, He loves me weak as I am, just because God made me.

Even further: He does not love me just as one of a general mass of people, he loves me as an individual. "He calls me by my name, I am precious in his eyes and he loves me. (Isaiah 43).

We have hope right now in this life's journey; but our hope is even further strengthened for our future because we are walking life's journey with a definite destination ahead of us. That wonderful destination is complete union with God in love. (We call this: Heaven)

The whole Bible gives a history of God's dealing with people. That history continues. Yes, God is in our history. That gives us hope.
Hope is a sheer gift of God. We can not earn it. Let us ask for it. And let us share this gift with others. If we get the chance as Peter says: Tell people that we hope because God loves each of us as we are.

If you are suffering and everything seems hopeless, I suggest that you read Psalm 22. In verse 1-18, the Psalmist pours out his sufferings to God. From verse 19 to 31 hope arises, and he tells others about his rescue by God.