Mark 1: 1-8

On this second Sunday of advent, we lit the “peace candle”. Peace for Christians is one of the major themes which is foundational for us. We are striving always to uphold the vision of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. We are always looking for a sustainable piece. It is important to investigate how sustainable piece is built. It is not built through crushing all our enemies with violence and military might which was the Roman way of building peace. Jesus way of building peace was through honesty and building a healing community. Pure honesty builds trust which builds peace. The key to unlocking sustainable peace is through ‘real hope’. There are two types of hope which circulates around in our society and in the Christian world. The first is a “magical hope” such as when we think that we will buy a lotto ticket and hope that we can win. Sadly, the church has often misused and misinterpreted the miracles of Jesus turning what is a statement of meaning of the awesome love of God into some kind of magical trick. People have often spent their lives in frustration chasing after miracle rainbows offered by all the churches. This usually results in disappointment and disillusionment of a faith in God. A second type of hope comes from the concept of “real hope”.

Real hope comes from people having vision, stamina and desire to work together to actively make change, usually sustained by a spiritual vision. Elizabeth May, the former leader of the Green party of Canada’s mother was such a visionary. Stephanie May worked tirelessly in the mid 50s in the USA to stop nuclear weapon testing for the benefit of the world and by building an international coalition that was able to bring pressure across the planet to stop atmospheric testing. Today we face many issues not just Covid-19 but climate change which can seem intractable but with perseverance and hope -change can be made when the Hope we use is real hope and not false hope. French philosopher Marcel once said, “hope is for the soul as breathing is for living organisms”. For ‘real hope’ to flourish sustainably, honesty and Hope have to be reconciled together. 

There are 8 complex societal ingredients for building real hope: 1) no magic solutions; 2) must build coalitions and work together; 3) get over all boundaries and frameworks; 4) hope is built piece by piece- like working with Lego; 5) hope is always uncertain and hard fought; 6) must have real measurable goals; 7) it is based in clear eyed realism – no dreaming; 8) “Hope that” vs.” Hope to”. Hope ‘to’ is a commitment to action and not just being a spectator. Jesus teaching and promise was built in a concrete way with true action modeled by our Lord and followed by his disciples. It is now up to us as we seek real peace to follow in these footsteps to use real hope! May God bless us all on our journey of Peace as we celebrate the Birth of Jesus in our lives.