“The Sound of Hope”
As I stood on the upper deck of a ferry boat crossing from one side of the city to another, the sound began. The sun slipped behind the skyline of minarets and skyscrapers as hundreds, perhaps thousands, of loudspeakers broadcast the haunting sound of the Muslim call to prayer across the city. The voices echoed off buildings and across the water. It was a beautiful scene, yet profoundly sad. It struck me that millions of people in that city and around the world were putting their hope in observing Islam. Millions more were putting their hope in other religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, or in the pursuit of wealth and comfort, or in nothing at all. I remember hearing that sound and thinking, “This is what hopelessness sounds like.”
We who have put our faith in Jesus Christ have a hope unlike any other. We trust in Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross to pay the price that our sin deserves. We trust that God the Father looks on us and sees the righteousness of Jesus. We trust that Jesus rose on the third day and has secured a place for us in His eternal family. We trust in the promise of the Holy Spirit’s presence with us always, in this life and the life to come. As believers, we experience a great hope! When you have a good experience of any kind, you want to share it with someone. How much more should we want others to experience the hope of Jesus this Easter season?
Experience Hope, our observance and celebration of the events of Holy Week, is next week. I encourage all of you to participate. Some of you may be thinking, “Do I have to come to church every night?” I challenge you to come. If you’d only planned to come once, come twice. If you’d planned to come twice, double it. Your attendance and participation is an encouragement to your church family and your staff. May we all be encouraged by the experience of walking through the final week of Jesus’ earthly ministry. May we be challenged to share the reason for the hope that we have with others. If next week is only a church event that we participate in and then get on with our lives, we will have missed the point. God extends His love and grace to us so that we may extend it to others. We experience the hope of Christ so that we can extend that same hope to others. We share the good news so that the hopeless in both the nations and our neighborhoods may hear the sound of hope. Invite your neighbors to our Easter Egg Hunt this Saturday, and then invite them to Experience Hope.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”