August 2015

Jochebed: A Basket of Hope

Jocheved didn't just stand there. She made a basket of hope and gave Moses to God. If she hadn't let go of that basket, there would be no Moses, no exodus from Egypt, no Mount Sinai, no people of the Covenant, no Promised Land. There would be no King David, no Jesus Christ, no Christian Church, no kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. You see, God has big plans. The prophet Jeremiah tells us: "For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope." [Jer 29:11] So I don't care how old you are. If God were finished with you, you wouldn't be here. There's still life you need to live, still growing you need to do. So what we all need to do is make ourselves a basket, plaster it with hope, climb inside and push out into the river of life.

Hero of Hope: Joseph

So the story of Joseph teaches us to put our hope onto a much bigger canvas than the one upon which we paint our little dreams and plans. Like most of us, Joseph was scheming for himself and didn't realize that he was part of a much bigger plan that no one but God could see or comprehend.

Heroine of Hope: Hagar

If you want to understand something about the intersection of race and religion in the world today, just read Genesis. It's a book that is chock full of ancient ethnography: stories that don't just tell us about individual heroes and heroines, but are intended to tell us about the relationships between different tribes and races of people. The story of Hagar is known by the three Abrahamic faiths, but it is told from very different perspectives by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, all of whom have different motives in telling it. The question is not "whose version is the right one?" The question is whether the differences in these stories can still point to the same God and testify to the same hope. Is there Truth here that is not just tribal, but also universal?