We are not consumed
This world is deeply broken and yet at the same time our God is faithful, and his compassion never fails. "Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed," says Lamentations.
To speak hope – not in spite of, but in full sight of – injustice is an act of courage and defiance. Speaking hope is to declare that the Kingdom of God is in our midst (Luke 17:21). It is to pin our hopes on the God who doesn’t abandon us, but chooses to come close: Immanuel, born in the dirt of a stable, the source of life, living among us.
What better time of year to explore both lament and hope? As we journey through Advent, we participate in thousands of years of longing for the Kingdom to come, of lamenting the pain of this world and waiting for the Messiah. Then, like the Magi, we fix our eyes on a light that breaks through the darkness and on a God of justice whose compassion and mercy never fails.
As the people of God, we are called to both lament and to have courageous hope. Weeping with those who weep, while also becoming co-workers in God’s unstoppable mission for restoration.
The scale and urgency of climate change, coronavirus and racial injustice provide plenty for us to lament, but this year also offers us a unique opportunity for hope.
After so much of the world has been put on pause or kept in lockdown, we have a chance to ask fundamental questions about ourselves, our society and our world. Who do we want to be as we re-emerge? What kind of world do we want to rebuild? Will we return to polluted cities, relentless consumerism and widening inequality? Or will we choose a new direction where creation is able to flourish and the value of someone’s life is found in being made in the image of God, and not measured by the colour of their skin or the resources they have to offer.
Tackling these interconnected problems can feel overwhelming, but it can also be an invitation to courageous hope. If we are to tackle any of these man-made crises, we must do so together: building a world that is more fair and just, and where everyone is able to reach their God-given potential.
This Advent, I invite you to pray bold, courageous prayers of hope. Imagining, dreaming and interceding for a world where all of creation – you, me and all that God has made – is able to flourish.
Jack Wakefield, Tearfund’s Campaigns Team. He is passionate about Jesus and caring for creation.