Last night at our midweek Lent service I read Isaiah 55:1-13, another of the required readings for the Easter Vigil Service. (Here are verses 10-13, “10 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 12 For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”)
I then read a reflection on verses 10-13 and finally asked people to answer this question, What gives you hope? Here is a sampling of responses:
People helping each other in need–food, shelter, visiting the sick, mentoring youth and others.
Hospitals–going to one everyday–I see how families receive hope from doctors and prayers.
In places like Trinity, all over the world, scattered but there. God’s love….
In the everyday small acts of kindness and in the way people draw together in times of crisis or catastrophe.
That God loves us, sin and all. Every day is a treasure.
I see hope when high school students in Florida are willing to demonstrate for change that may improve their safety. And when women are brave enough to speak up about being assaulted or being treated unfairly.
The different agencies and individuals who help the homeless and people in need.
Refugee Community in Boise.
The snow covered mountains.
The miracle of a new born baby.
The kindness people show each other even if they don’t know each other very well.
We have kids in Florida that have taken a stand.
Experience hope in the miracle of medicine to heal cancer and other diseases.
In the establishment of families.
New Food Pantry at Good News Community Church.
I see hope in the youth that are going to the ELCA Youth Gathering this summer and also the youth that have made a stand and are working for change in light of the school shooting.
Teachers being kind and helpful to their students.
Our grandchildren’ outlook.