From first to last… Christianity is hope, forward looking and forward moving, and therefore also revolutionizing and transforming the present. — Jurgen Moltmann
Faith fosters both realism and hope. We live in a broken world where things are difficult, but with God they will not be impossible. This is not because we can always fix things, but because Christians living a communal way of life, rooted in trust in God, say to our world, “It does not have to be like this. Another way is possible.”
The Christian life is about becoming transformed people who work toward all that our world could be, inspired by the vision of a new heaven and earth where God’s peace, love, and justice reign (Revelation 21:1-4; Micah 4:3-4). Christian hope brings faith in God and his promised future to change the present. Hope is a deep knowledge that because Christ was victorious over sin on the cross, evil will not have the last word. One day the world will be made new, and our relationships, bodies, minds, and creation will be restored.
Christians are called to carry on the work of Christ by the help of the Holy Spirit, bringing healing and wholeness to broken bodies, minds, relationships, and communities. God calls people to follow “justice and only justice” (Deuteronomy 16:20). In her song, Mary reflects on a God of justice who humbles the proud and lifts the poor (Luke 1:51-52). Our vision of the future is anticipated in the way we live now. Hope leads to action.
It is easy to become discouraged and give up trying to change things for the better, but Christians are called to be encouragers so that change does happen. God is called “the God of all encouragement” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). The Apostle Paul called on people to encourage each other and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Encouragement means focusing on others and being unselfish in praise. People who exercise the ministry of encouragement make a point to notice what people do and who they are. Encouragement undermines apathy and reverses a lack of interest and involvement in the world that leads to passivity and disengagement.
Teaching and learning about faith and science will fall short if all we do is gather more information and do not follow through in responsible, hopeful commitments to live more fruitfully. Whether we are learning about how science casts light on abuse of the environment, considering how virtues and vices can sustain or poison scientific work, or exploring how the study of science can enable service, hope can lead us to commit to change. Learners can be encouraged to actively serve others with heart, hand, and mind in hope that such service welcomes God’s future. Imagine what a dynamic vision of the future—our own future and that of our community—is foreshadowed through our actions. Think how Christian hope might fuel responsible action.
Look out for FASTly activities that call for hopeful commitment and service. The following activities are worthwhile examples and helpful starting places for your consideration and use.