Yet Hope Remains

On April 19, 2014, my church is going to produce a play called Yet Hope Remains. The story focuses on the character of Tikva who is one of the two Jesus' visits on the Road to Emmaus after his resurrection. The play, however, takes place the night before the resurrection and will be preformed on the Saturday before Easter.

First of all, I'm exited that my new church is doing a play. Second of all, I'm excited that the play will focus on a time we don't often discuss during Easter season. Third, I'm thankful that it is my play being produced.

Hope is an interesting topic. It can be fleeting, easily broken or a surety in our lives. We hope it won't snow again; we hope for that someone special to ask us out; we hope in our Lord and Savior. Hope, to the Ancient Greeks, was considered the worst of all curses laid upon humanity. It's part of the reason that hope was the last thing Pandora released from the box. Ancient Greece was a cynical place to be, apparently.

Hope can be a foundation, but what happens when that sure foundation crumbles? What happens when that foundation cracks and gives way? When things attack that foundation, we can either fight to our last breath, or we can survey the attacks and find ways to divert them. Most people in conservative Christianity focus on those two paths: defend their ground (doctrines) or counter-attack the arguments.

During my teen years, I was given ammunition to counter what I was told: if someone says this, counter with this. We were prepped for debate, in essence, but not with the ability to argue both sides. Someone once told me that a good debater can argue both sides of an argument. It's a fairly true statement. Yes, it is easier to argue from the point I agree with, but by arguing for the other side, I am able to learn from my opponent.

In some cases, I realize that my side isn't the best option. In other cases, I've learned that my side needs to step back, take a look and reconsider our stance. People I know believe that if they can make a good argument, they can win someone to Christ, but we rarely see that in the Scriptures. What we do see is Christ interacting with people on a daily level. He told stories his audience could understand; he met the religious leaders in duels of words, but few responded to his reason. Those that chose to follow Christ did so because he cared for them.

He gave them hope - a sure foundation that no matter what happened, he was one they could trust.

Then he died on the cross.

And hope faded, shattered, and flickered.

We know how the story ends - we celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday, but each of us comes to a time in our lives in which hope shatters. When we reach that point, some turn to Christ; some turn away, and some just hold on for dear life.

My struggles with the church are with the individuals within the church and the over-arching issues I see in conservative Christianity. We have our troubles, and we have things we need to work through. I left one church because I finally gave up, but I found another church where I could grow.

Hope remained with me, because I knew that Christ did rise again. His death wasn't the end. In my journey to connect my faith and my art with the world around me, hope often grows dim. Some days, I have absolutely no path to follow, and I struggle along blind for some time. All I can do is shuffle along, trying to follow the path beneath me.

Sometimes, I just stop, and hold still. I listen, and I seek. I argue out my thoughts - taking them down one path, up another, and around in a circle to see it from all angles. As I develop my arguments, I see the faults, but I see how to shore them up, improve upon them or dismiss them.

I don't have the answers, and I don't know all the paths our lives take. I explore a lot through my books, but I can never take every path. I do know that the paths will have darkness and hardship; they will have ease and light. Sometimes the path is dark and easy; sometimes it's bright and hard, but throughout it all, hope remains. When that hope is settled on a sure foundation in Christ, not in church traditions or dogma, but in who Christ is, the pathway is solid.

We can accept Christ as our Messiah, or we can dismiss him as a madman. We cannot do both, and must make a choice. My hope is in Christ, the creator of the heavens and the earth. In following him, my life may never be easy, but I know that I would never want to walk an easy path without him guiding me.


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