Understanding What Hope Is

The word “hope” is a pretty basic word. People (including myself) use it on a daily basis, but this simple word became more meaningful to me because of one mother’s assertion that “Hope Is Not Wishing.” Understanding what hope is can be complicated, but I felt that this post helped me out with it.

“I hope it doesn’t rain today.” “I hope I can find time to go out for lunch today.” “I hope you will call me back soon.” These are some of some examples of how I use the word “hope.” While there may be nothing wrong with these statements as far as the English language is concerned, the word “hope” in the Bible carries a much more profound meaning. Take this verse as an example, “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)”

As the author says,  “Our hope simply is in the goodness and mercy of God, not for a specific outcome which our ego desires.” Understanding what hope is isn’t easy, but the next time you use the word hope think about this post.

In Defense of Harry Potter

The new Harry Potter film is an utter success.  Pulling in opening weekend sales of $125 million, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 begins the final stage of Harry Potter’s story.  Now, of course, Harry Potter attained an iconic status a long time ago, but following fame has always come the controversy that J.K. Rowling’s stories bring.

Many criticize the seeming advocacy of witchcraft and pagan religions, uncomfortable with the “innocent”  spin that the book/film series places on wizardry.

However, mycatholicblog.com found an article on christandpopculture.com in which author and pastor Drew Dixon defends the film’s morals:

What I loved about this movie was very similar to what I loved about the book: Harry’s previous exploits come together to aid him in his quest to do the impossible and I thought those elements were handled fairly throughout and beautifully in the end.  Lessons the three learned in previous adventures and friendships they formed are continually playing a part in their adventures and though the movie ends on a sad note, I thought it ended with a  tremendous amount of hope.  Harry’s example of self-sacrifice and bravery is emulated by an odd friend who makes for an unlikely hero.

This humble self-sacrifice reminded me of two things that are important for the Christian to remember.  First, if we are to battle the darkness of this world, we must do so by dying to self.  Second, people are always watching what we do, if we live humble lives of service to others, some of those people might just follow our example as we follow Christ.  Much like the world of The Deathly Hallows, ours is a very dark world but by faith and with the help of genuine friends, we can face it with determination.

Now, I saw the film and I am inclined to agree; through all the cinematic flash and imaginary elements, the feelings projected through the characters remained quite real.  I strongly sensed the love between friends, the respect for elders/professors, and the admirable bravery.  And like Dixon, I also left the cinema feeling hopeful!

Despite various background elements of the story (Hogwarts, magic, etc), the overriding moral that J.K. Rowling has always tried to convey is that one must choose the Good–no matter how difficult it may be.

Christians of All Sorts to Gather in Europe

I found this post over at Christian Today this morning and thought it was really cool.

“Hope will launch in its new form as part of Europe’s largest gathering of Christians, an all-night prayer and praise event hosted by the Redeemed Christian Church of God which expects more than 25,000 people to attend.

Hosted by Pastor Agu Irukwu of Jesus House, the Hope launch will be part of the Festival of Life on 23 July at the ExCel Centre in London.

The General Overseer, Pastor EA Adeboye is also keen to pray over and commission Hope. The event signifies a move towards a wider involvement in Hope from across church denominations and cultural divides and will strengthen partnerships with the black majority church.

Pastor Agu Irukwu said: “Hope is one of the tributaries that will flow into this river of revival. There is a feeling that God is in this and that it is actually larger than we all think. There is a real desire to do something – working together, black and white majority churches, urban based missions and missions that are out in the country.”” – “Hope to launch at Europe’s largest gathering of Christians”

25,000 people all meeting up to spend the night at an overnight prayer function? Wow, looks like there is hope for the world after all. This is really a great thing to see, especially with the endless reports of dwindling faith that are constantly being brought to my attention. These are all Christians too, meaning that everybody who falls under the title of being Christian is welcome to attend. By the sounds of it there will be quite a mixture of faiths too, which is a great thing!