Rev. Dr. Chuck Moffett
“I am not sure how much longer I can take this pandemic…I hope it will end soon so we can get back to normal.” That is a cry of despair heard on the lips of so many in these days of anxiety, isolation, fear, depression. Each of us is looking for that proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel.” It is well known that people can endure an amazing amount of suffering AS LONG AS THERE IS HOPE.
Richard Rohr, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation , draws on the writings of Cynthia Bourgeault, who makes a powerful distinction between what she calls
- ordinary hope: tied to outcome…an optimistic feeling in the hope that things will get better…
- mystical hope: a complete reversal of our usual way of looking at things… a hope which weaves its way in a quiet trust as a counterpoint to life.
This mystical hope is not tied to a good outcome in the future. It lives a life of its own in the present. It has everything to do with presence – the immediate experience of being met by something intimately at hand. It bears fruit within us in the form of sensations of strength, joy, satisfaction, and trust.
We are not the source of this hope – we do not, and cannot, manufacture it. Rather, it comes from outside ourselves, and we live within it. It changes our life – our innermost way of looking at life.
It is here at the center where we meet and are met by God. “For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.” (Psalm 71:5). “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)