Lately, I have been thinking a lot about hope. 

I know we are not yet to Easter Sunday and the hope of Christ’s resurrection is still a distant reality. This is a struggle, isn’t it, living in the in-between? 

We are required to keep our eyes on the future and be prepared while, at the same time, not missing the gift of this present moment. As I lead a small group on Wednesday nights, this thought has begun to swirl around in my soul. 

Last week, Kate Boyd, in her book “An Untidy Faith: Journeying Back to the Joy of Following Jesus,” asked us to re-examine our eschatology, what we believe about the end of all things. 

Many people alongside whom I minister need new language to think about the end times and the future of God’s creation. Many are deconstructing the beliefs they grew up with and dealing with lingering rapture anxiety. 

When AT&T lost power, one of my congregants jokingly texted me that some might see that power outage as a sign of the end times. AT&T may be offering us $5 for the inconvenience, but there is no credit to make up for the growing angst and uncertainty of being a human in the world today. 

Some may not have grown up with rapture anxiety. However, we can still see how certain factions within evangelical Christianity have shaped our understanding of God’s future and how that future affects the present reality. 

This popular paradigm often proclaims that heaven awaits those who believe in Jesus and are saved. But this good news is usually good news for only some people. 

It also means the whole theological focus becomes on an eternal—far away—hope. 

Meanwhile, the injustices and evils of the present day are not worth much effort or concern since Jesus will fix it all one day anyway. Ironically, this “future-oriented” Christianity also has a sinister and contradictory obsession with the past. 

I recently watched a legislative hearing about a new proposed public school sex education curriculum for Texas. The curriculum encourages students to delay sexual activity. But because it includes fact-based evidence and information about contraception—it is considered too “immoral” for some Texas Christians. 

I watched as a woman turned to the audience and said she supported Texas public education but was concerned about the nation’s moral compass and where it was going. She wanted to get Texas “back on track.” 

This is such a contradictory and confusing paradigm. On the one hand, a future distant heaven is the only thing that matters. On the other hand, a past distant hell is the only thing worth returning to. 

But among us justice-minded faith leaders, the practice of hope is often low on our list of priorities. We get so involved in tending to the daily injustices and sorrows around us that we fail to cultivate a spirit of hope. 

If you are like me, you might easily fall into existential despair about where this is all headed. It becomes challenging to hope that people will show up to vote in ways that will improve our state’s equity and justice for all of God’s people. 

So, my invitation is to reclaim eschatological hope. We can embrace the hope of heaven and still care deeply about present injustices. 

God’s vision for creation will be realized in the end. We are not alone. 

The future is bright with Christ’s restoration of all things, and this glorious future is unfolding now. Because of our hope in eternal life—we are invited to participate in eternal, abundant life in the present moment.  

We aren’t attempting to “go back” to a distant past. We are witnesses and truth-bearers. 

We honor Christ by speaking the truth about America’s past sins with hope and reverence for God’s future vision. 

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