by Ella Corey
I was sitting in a chapel service at Biola University this week as the worship leaders lead us in a familiar holiday tune. I followed along the easily recognizable “O Holy Night” with the words up on the screen. Christmas songs are fun, so I never took them too seriously when played in a worship setting. That is, until I listened to a particular line in this song:
A thrill of hope
The weary world rejoices.
For yonder breaks
A new and glorious morn.
This moved me significantly this year. As a child, you hear of the hope of Jesus and of course are happy, but you don’t fully understand it. I believe you are unable to understand this because you are unaware of the complete darkness that this world lives in. We know joy exists only because we know what it’s like to feel a lack of joy. Likewise, as we are hurt and affected by injustices, we become more and more aware of our need for a savior.
The longer we live, the more darkness we witness. It’s in our households, schools, neighborhoods, and on national news. It is apparent, even to nonbelievers, that we live in a fallen world. The recent Ferguson incident is one of many examples of this, it is an injustice that has hurt and crippled so many in our nation. It has been so heartbreaking and upsetting that the only way some have thought to react to this is through violence and riots.
NFL player, Benjamin Watson, expressed his feedback to this incident in a Facebook post that has gone viral. Here he explains why the Ferguson event has made him angry, frustrated, fearful, embarrassed, sad, sympathetic, offended, confused, introspective, hopeless, hopeful and encouraged. The end of this post was what caught the most attention; as he goes on to explain how the Gospel is the one thing that can heal all of our hurt.
“I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through … his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.”
This is exactly the attitude we need to have this time of year. The Gospel has given us a hope, a hope that one-day the injustices that we face will be gone, and we will be united with Christ. Although, this hope should not only be known in our hearts but reflected in our attitudes. Rather than acting with violence and anger we need to react with love, because we have hope that it does get better. The only way to change the wrongs that are done to you is to respond the right way. We prove that we are able to be hopeful by fixing these injustices with our own actions.
I Love Ferguson a group committed to restoring the Ferguson community, recently released pictures of photographer and graphic designer Michael Kilfoy’s work in the city of Ferguson. Here he has created numerous murals promoting love trying to rebuild the community. Doing so, the artist has sent a message of hope and healing: it is possible in any community.
This hope is only possible because of Jesus. In Romans 15:13 Paul writes, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” My prayer is that this Christmas season you overflow with hope. Hope that a savior has redeemed you of your sins and will one day restore the earth.