“When we lose our capacity to hope, we lose our capacity to shape our future.” We continue our series of Lenten posts with this reflection on holding onto hope in challenging times from a sermon preached by the Reverend George Regas at All Saints Church in Pasadena in 2004.
We are humbled by the challenge of being faithful to God amid all the complexities and demands that are placed before us. Some of you will say, “I have so little to offer against the hugeness of the issues confronting us.” Feeling that way myself sometimes, I go back to some words spoken by Senator Bobby Kennedy in South Africa in 1966. They have always inspired me.
“Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills, against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence…. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of our generation.”
Hold on to hope that your life and witness count. Hope will make a tremendous difference in the tasks you assume for yourself. Cynicism and despair are deathblows to any movement for national renewal and world peace, or just your trying to survive the challenges of daily life. Teilhard de Chardin said, “The world of tomorrow belongs to those who gave it the greatest hope.” I believe that passionately.
Many of us have been working on all of this for a long time. It is a terrible day when we let our defeats and failures beat us down into hopelessness and despair. Dante knew the destruction of the loss of hope, for he placed over the gates of hell the words, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” Despair is the deathblow to a new and better and more just future. It is unmistakably clear that when we lose our capacity to hope, we lose our capacity to shape our future.
Do you remember those days when your heart was full of hope that life could be different, that life could be transformed and healed, that life could be better and more wonderful? Remember the energy that brought to your life. Those dreams you have for your children and grandchildren, those dreams for your marriage or close relationships, those dreams for your job—they are powerful engines for change in your life. Don’t let anyone take them from you. Nor take from you your dreams for a better nation and a peaceful world.The Reverend George F. Regas, Rector Emeritus | October 31, 2004