This Sunday, we'll begin a summer sermon series on the Book of Romans. Out of our selected scripture passage for Sunday, we will focus in on these famous words, written by the Apostle Paul:
"We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."
Yes, we'll reflect on what it means to live in this world as people of hope, even in the midst of suffering. We'll also reflect on how God alone, by the power of the Spirit, can lead us from a place of suffering into hopeful and joyful living.
We'll also keep coming back to this question: "How can we continue to live in this world as people of hope, even though many of our wishes may remain unfulfilled?"
I'll be honest; I still have a lot of work to do on my message for Sunday! For now, I will leave you with a prayer written by Henri Nouwen in his wonderful little book “With Open Hands.” In God's hands alone we place our reflections, questions, and prayers regarding suffering – for it is in God that we ultimately find rest for our aching and longing souls.
I am full of wishes,
full of desires,
full of expectations.
Some of them may be realized, many may not, but in the
midst of all my satisfactions and disappointments,
I hope in you.
I know that you will never leave me alone
and will fulfill your divine promises.
Even when it seems that things are not going my way,
I know that they are going your way
and in the end your way is the best way for me.
O Lord, strengthen my hope,
especially when my many wishes are not fulfilled.
Let me never forget that your name is Love.
Amen, indeed. See you in church,