Submitted by Tarkio/Westboro Ministerial Alliance

Grace to you!! I have been looking for hope. For the past couple of months, I have tried to concentrate and listen, as intently as I could, to hear hope midst  an increasingly angry and separated society. People, citizens, neighbors, and family members attacking each other because of their political party or beliefs. Raw power wielded in the most violent and angry ways. Individual lives torn apart for another reason than to win the political day. Pundits and politicians, social and broadcast media, all sources of information, presenting every scrap of news in the worst possible way. I’ve looked for something hopeful and rediscovered a fundamental truth – Hope has not, is not, and will never be found inside a world so broken and sin filled. The origin of hope is not placed within the confines of this twisted world in which we live. Hope comes from outside of ourselves and our world. A little baby born in the backwater town of Bethlehem, the Son of Mary and Joseph, the Son of the Most High, Emmanuel, God With Us. This hope holds our hands when we tremble with fear. This hope whispers “peace” in the whirlwind of events we cannot understand. This hope confronts the conniving forces of the evil one and all the empty promises of power with a persistence that will not be denied. It is the only hope that endures through all ages and ages. Never changing, never faltering, never failing, never ending, Jesus Christ our Lord.

We approach this hope as we gather as the body of Christ. We learn of this hope only by walking together, hearing the Word together, believing together, journeying together. The evil one would have you believe in your individual steps, your personal feelings, your intellectual prowess, your rugged individualism, and your own power (and all of this is most certainly NOT true). God, in the body of Jesus Christ, impels you to come to Him, and Him alone, for safety, secur-ity, joy, peace . . . HOPE.

In John’s Gospel, Jesus tells the followers that he is the bread of life. He is the food that will satisfy all hunger. To all who believe and gather in His name, he is the drink that will satiate all thirst. He is the source of life, the source of a life well lived, and the source of life eternal. Upon hearing this Word, his followers, like us, have extreme difficulty accepting this “hard teaching.” We all wonder as to whether we can accept this truth. Jesus replies that, though this Word may offend, it is truly the only way of salvation – “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” Some of his followers “turned back.” They could not accept the truth Jesus proclaimed. When Jesus asked the twelve whether they too wanted to leave, Simon Peter answered him. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Peter and the disciples believed in Jesus, knowing he was the Holy One of God, and in their belief committed themselves to the journey, the amazing journey, of following the Lord Jesus Christ. This hope, lived out in the body of Jesus Christ, changes lives, changes attitudes, changes our direction. To meet this hope is to abandon our old, alone ways and to walk together in new ways. And this new way is visible, demonstrable, and tangible. Those who follow Jesus Christ have been marked by Him forever and are living the good news of His presence, every day. I invite you to invite others to come and see. To come to worship Him and to see the hope that is so freely given.

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time…Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you…And the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the power forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5)