Christ our hope

Why did Christ have to suffer? After all, He was the Son of God. The question certainly is justified and the answer clear: because of us! And why do we have to suffer?

Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes, Wikipedia says. Sounds complicated: optimistic attitude of mind, expectation of positive outcomes. So how is this possible for people who have lost all hope? There are many definitions and quite a few aphorisms on the nature of hope. Here is a maxim from Václav Havel: “Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”

Jesus Christ is the hope of mankind. This is something all Christians have been aware of since their baptism. This hope in Christ is the guiding theme in the divine services of the New Apostolic Church in the month of November.

Hope beyond the grave

On the first Sunday of November the New Apostolic Church traditionally celebrates its divine service for the departed. Death is not the end of life. Thanks to hope in Christ, life does not end at the grave. In fact, Christ is also the Saviour of the dead. There is hope for help after death and this is intended to make us strong in life.

The essence of hope

Christ is hope. He is the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and end of all things. He has the last word, not human beings. How comforting it is to know that we do not have to rely on the goodwill of man. Christians therefore accord Christ first place in their hearts on their path of faith. And He has the last word. But of course it is not enough to pray sincerely or to bring a special offering or sacrifice now and then. Decisive is one’s optimistic attitude of mind, based on a positive outcome. This is what encourages us to hear, believe, and do.

Hope through comfort

Christ is hope because He comforts. He is the hope of believers in times of need. We do not always understand God—He remains a mystery—but we can still remain true to Him even in the face of suffering and misery: “And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation” (2 Corinthians 1: 7). This statement answers the question as to the purpose of suffering. Why do people have to suffer, where do they find comfort, and where can they find fresh hope that things will change? People suffer, but they also receive comfort through Jesus Christ who grants hope.

Transition to a new church year

On the last Sunday of the church year, we will focus on our hope for eternal fellowship with God. Life is not in vain and death is not pointless. In the end, God will have the last word: “… and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5: 2). Already the first Christians believed that Christ would return during their lifetime. They were full of joy about this and even boasted of their hope.

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Peter Johanning
Divine service