FRIDAY: HOPE by Holly Yinger

SCRIPTURE: Amos 5:1-17

The book of Amos communicates repeatedly the disconnect that existed in the lives of the Israelites between their religion and their daily life. God’s words for them are simple, “Seek Me and live.” Here in Amos, we are reminded that when we seek after God, we learn how to be people of righteousness, people of right relationship. It is when we seek God, that all else aligns and we find fullness of life.

This struggle of a seamless life feels familiar to me. I have been guilty of sometimes using my Sunday mornings as an emotional tonic to ease my consciousness and then return to my daily life unchanged. But our hope is more than a Bandaid that helps us forget the reality of the world. And our hope is more than a promise that someday, we’ll have a ticket to get out of the earth and into heaven. Our hope is that God is ever calling us to be the people we were created to be. Our hope invites us to witness transformation, but it also invites us to be transformed ourselves.

The hope that we have is that by the grace of God we become a changed people. That we are not what we once were. That God is doing a new thing in the world and in us. That our daily lives and our faith not only intersect on occasion, but are unified as one. Sometimes it’s easy to read the Biblical text and not see ourselves in it. The cultural differences can blind us and distort the important truth that this is a story of us. The words of Amos ask how we can continue to claim God as our God when our lives look so unlike God and remain so
unchanged. When our lives look nearly identical to that of the mainstream culture: same sins, same idols, same selfishness, same hopelessness, we miss out on being a beacon of hope in the world. We forget that we have been blessed to bless the world with lives marked by justice and righteousness, love and hope, peace and joy. Not of our own conjuring, but because of the presence of God in our lives.

Hope came in the form of a Messiah who walked through life demonstrating what a life of righteousness looks like. A life devoted to seeking God in all things, to building remembrance into our days, to living in a way that affirms the inherent value of others, to unity of faith and daily life. Our redemption is found in Christ’s life, death and resurrection. Our Redeemer has come. And for this, we rejoice.

And during this season of waiting and abiding, we pray for the hope that makes all things right. We recognize that the darkness feels overwhelming at times. But we can find peace in the hope that God has promised that one day death, sin, darkness will be extinguished. And while we wait, may we allow God to begin this work in our own lives.

PRAYER
God, teach us to truly surrender to Your will and Your way in our lives. Reveal to us the inconsistencies in our lives,
the places where our lives are different than the faith we claim with our mouths.
Today, transform our lives into beacons of hope.
Transform our lives into reminders of restoration and reconciliation in the world.
Open our eyes to where you are making things new and beautiful and whole.

Josh Kleinfeld