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Reign of Christ 2019: The Stewardship of Hope

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The Stewardship of Hope

  • Christ the King does come at a strange time for us mentally, and this passage does as well.
  • We’re more used to heading right to Advent, and Christmas. Thanksgiving, even. So to have this moment here where we witness Jesus on the cross feels almost a little profane.
  • However, if we think of this as the final day of our liturgical year, we can see how taking one last moment to remember might project us well into the new year.
  • Advent reminds us all about an expectant hope
    • We know Jesus is coming. We prepare for Jesus’ arrival.
    • But when we get there, we might feel a little tattered and torn.
    • Hope often feels like such a finite resource, and it can be hard to look around and find it in steady supply.
    • As I’ve heard many of your stories in the last couple months, I hear the world buffeting up against you. Bad moments gone worse, and moments when you feel like the world is playing hot hands with you, waiting for the moment to slap you as you sit quietly, hands resting.
    • Schopenhauer
      • German Philosopher
      • He who has given up hope has also given up fear; this is the meaning of the expression desperate. It is natural for a man to have faith in what he wishes, and to have faith in it because he wishes it. If this peculiarity of his nature, which is both beneficial and comforting, is eradicated by repeated hard blows of fate, and he is brought to a converse condition, when he believes that something must happen because he does not wish it, and what he wishes can never happen just because he wishes it; this is, in reality, the state which has been called desperation.
      • It’s easy for us to fall into this desperation.
    • Luke
      • The beginning of Luke shows a desperate, cynical time, completely devoid of hope.
      • Scoffing - literally turning up their nose at Jesus.
      • As they mock Jesus, they do it for their own pleasure. They’re enjoying themselves in a world without hope.
      • One of the criminals joins in. This seems to be the ideal of desperation as Shopenhauer talks about it. Dealt heavy blows, why even ask for something when it’s not going to happen.
      • BUT Yet.
        • The other criminal has hope. In the midst of sure and certain death, the other criminal has hope. It isn’t a desperation or a resignation, but a simple request that he believes will come to be - Jesus, remember me.
        • Jesus, himself dying, responds. And as far as we can tell from Luke’s telling, it is the last thing he speaks to someone other than God. Jesus’ final act is to bring comfort and realize hope.
    • The stewardship of hope
      • The difference in the two criminals is one still believed that Jesus is who he said he was.
      • This might be why, with all the other things that we’ve spoken of about stewarding, that is the foundation of them all. What good is caring for relationships and the Creation is all is lost and hopeless?
      • It is what makes us who we are as Christians - our hope in the risen Savior.
      • Kuyper - Not a single square info in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry, “Mine!"
      • The one who healed at death still can give us hope, and it means that everything that we do can be a sign of the hope Jesus gives us.
      • When we have new members, that is hope!
      • We when give our tithes, that’s hope!
      • When we even just show up, that’s hope!
      • There are times it’s hard to feel it, but perhaps that’s where the other two come back into play
        • When we see someone restored because of a gentle reminder that God loves them from one of you, there’s hope renewed.
        • When we see our world healed from its scars, being more thoughtful of what we consume, we see hope again.
        • Budgets, programs, buildings and grounds, service, leadership. All of it are messages of a hope when at times we’d rather just give into desperation and nihilism.
    • Advent
      • Let this next few weeks be a time to fill up your hope tank. We’re headed home again to see the newborn child. We’ll stay at home and explore what it is to be with Jesus, and then we’ll start our journey again and we move into Lent.

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