There is hope

There is hope

It’s hot. Much of the world is in pain from one or more of any number of inflictions: natural disasters, regional conflicts, civil war, threats of terrorism, relentless poverty, refugees forced from their homes, oppression of women, exploitation of children, human trafficking, political unrest, disease and famine. Were we not Christian, we might become susceptible to the darkness around us and lose hope in the future. But, we are Christian and we will not lose hope. Fortunately for us, there are signs of light in the world as well; perhaps not extremely bright, but there none the less.

Pope Francis has set up a panel to study whether women could serve as deacons, a role now reserved to men. The Vatican said Tuesday, August 2, Francis "after intense prayer and mature reflection" decided to set up the commission, with 12 members — six men and six women — including priests, nuns and laywomen. It noted that he had told superiors of nuns' orders in May that he intended to "set up an official commission to study the question" of the diaconate for women "above all regarding the early times of the church." Some historians point out there were female deacons in the early church. Married men who serve as deacons can preach and preside at weddings, baptisms and funerals. There is hope.

Big yellow buses are on the road again full of excited children (at least for now!) headed to schools where they will learn to be social, discover the world in all its fascinating splendor, and receive instruction in subjects which will help them find meaningful purpose in life. They will enter as novices and graduate as young adults ready to enter the work force or prepared to seek additional education and skills. There is hope.

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for this two week period, the very best of the best athletes in the world are gathered to compete for gold, silver and bronze medals as well as to perform for themselves, for their families, for their friends and for their countries and this year a group of refugees without a country. It’s unfortunate that they all cannot win, but they all are to be respected for their courage, determination and effort. The sportsmanship displayed at the games is breath of fresh air as athletes from different nations and cultures embrace each other after competition with dignity and respect. There is hope.

Part of our Christian heritage and our heritage as Disciples of Christ affirms the place of women in the life of the church, part of it attests to the importance of developing the mind as well as the spirit, and part of it celebrates the diversity of humanity with respect, integrity and compassion. We celebrate an open Lord’s Table every week as a sign of God’s grace and a witness to the world that the Kingdom of God is here and now, just not yet. There is hope.