Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hope of the World, Thou Christ of Great Compassion

Yesterday I struggled with writing about Jesus as the "hope of the world."  The title of this blog refers to a great hymn by Georgia Harkness, as well as to the Wesley hymn, "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus."  As I wrestled with my thoughts on Jesus as the hope of the world, I thought of how different Christians think of the hope that we have in Jesus.  For some, Jesus is the only hope of the world, believing that without faith in Jesus as God incarnate, one is doomed to spend an eternity of suffering.  Some who are devout Christians experience long periods of hopelessness, living much of their lives in a "dark night of the soul."  For me, Jesus is the hope of the world in that he taught us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, parent the orphans, free the prisoners, bring water to the thirsty, for in taking care of others we are in reality ministering to Jesus himself and bringing his message of hope to the world.  Without a sense of the need to serve others, as the Samaritan cared for the injured Jew he found along the road or the father welcomed the prodigal son, we are abandoning others to hopelessness.  Can one truly be a servant of Jesus without being a Christian?  Jesus himself said that we could, telling us that when we love and serve others, we are loving and serving Jesus.  God is in our hearts whether we believe or not and God reveals God's essence in our work of giving hope through service.  This is our great hope, that we serve Jesus by serving others.

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