We had what I can only describe as a very special day of worship at my church yesterday. Maybe it’s because our praise team led us in a powerful time of music and reflection, focused around the question, “What Child Is This?” Maybe it’s because our sanctuary was decorated in a way that immersed us in the warmth and joy of the season. Or maybe, at a more personal level, it’s because my daughter shared a beautiful song that she herself arranged. But whether it was because of these things — or simply through these things — I was powerfully moved by what, for today, I’ll describe as the “Fragile and Indestructible Hope” of the gospel.
I say “Fragile,” because I was reminded that the Christ-Child came to broken and hurting people just like us. And more to the point, He came not in overwhelming might to vanquish His enemies — but in weakness and humility to serve and suffer and die for the sake of all. I say “Indestructible,” because our worship gave testimony to the fact that even after two millennia, the powers that drive us to seek “more” (instead of “enough”) and “might” (instead of “reconciliation”) and “advantage” (instead of “justice”) have been unable to extinguish the light that was kindled in Bethlehem. And I say “Hope,” because even though there never has been — nor is there currently — much “observable evidence” that the Kingdom which Jesus described is actually coming…yet, there are moments when I’m seized by its glory…and my trust in that kingdom is renewed…and I am moved to tears of “joyful longing”…just as I was in worship yesterday.
And so, it’s fitting, perhaps, that the very first sentiment that I encountered in today’s Daily Office was this one from Psalm 9:
I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.
I will give thanks to you, LORD…with all my heart. May your Fragile and Indestructible Hope continue to be born in me. And may your Kingdom come, even to folks like us who’ve done such a sorry job of receiving and sharing it.