Got Hope? You know, hope that sustains you in this life as you face the giants that assail you and a hope of heaven after the battles are all fought and possibly not all won? Hope for yourself and for those you love?
Life insurance companies estimate that the person who will live to be 125 years old has already been born. That is a LONG lifespan! Pew Research shows that an estimated 39% of adult Americans are now care-givers and it will only increase as our population grows older. Are you prepared to support and give hope to someone that may need your help?...to give them encouragement for a future of rest and joy in our resurrected Savior?
I recently went to an amazing event at a local hospital. It was called the HOPE INITIATIVE. Watch this link http://www.htc.us/grow (and scroll down) to see Rev. Jamie Haith give one of the talks [ that also happens to be one of the best talks on hope I have ever heard.] The HOPE INITIATIVE was the brain-child of a dear friend of mine who was the caretaker of her dying husband for many years. What Mona found that sustained her during the most difficult times were spiritual lifelines that kept her from isolation and loneliness and helped her to find answers to life’s most difficult questions to give her hope. Sadly her husband who was homebound and often in the hospital did not have the same experience. There was no sense of community or other spiritual resources for him. He wanted to know more about “what’s next?” He needed a guide, someone to tell him what the Bible had to say about it, and all he could find were those well meaning souls, but very uneffective who said, “I am here to accompany you, but I am not here to guide you.” It was very difficult for them to get real information, especially at 2:00 A.M. when things always seemed to be at their worst.
Our country is so uncomfortable with talk of hope for an afterlife because it infers death and talking about the dying process is not very PC. It makes people feel “uncomfortable.” And while I do not want to impose my beliefs on someone, because we are talking about all of eternity, I think it is at least worthy of a conversation.
I once went to a musical called, “Songs from the Tall Grass” set on the American prairie in the mid 1800s. The music was taken from songs written at that time. What I remember most was lyrics that reflected a familiarity and acceptance of death. And while we have made great strides in the advancement of medicine since that time, I believe we have gone backwards in our ability to talk about and cope with death. For our ancestors on the prairie, death was just a natural part of life and they knew how to handle it, what to say and do, and how to grieve, but they also had great hope of seeing their loved ones again, in heaven. They spoke and sang of it. For us, coping with the fact that death will happen at all, and that we should be getting ready for it when it comes is not part of our culture. We are chasing eternal youth and have placed so much faith in medicine, that it is hard for us to believe that death is inevitable. “Isn’t there a pill for that?” we ask.
My friend decided that it would be incredible for hospitals to offer classes on spiritual lifelines because, as we all know, death and taxes are inevitable! She is spearheading an effort to offer the HOPE INITIATIVE in EVERY hospital via closed circuit T.V. so that, in the case someone has questions about “what’s next” in the middle of the night, they will be able to tune in and find out what the Bible has to say on the matter. Her project offers not just one answer, but faith-based answers on behalf of all the world’s religions. She wants to offer spiritual lifelines, what she herself found so helpful and sustaining, to everyone.
Our HOPE, as Christians, is in the Lord. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states this:
1020 The Christian who unites his own death to that of Jesus views it as a step towards him and an entrance into everlasting life. When the Church for the last time speaks Christ's words of pardon and absolution over the dying Christian, seals him for the last time with a strengthening anointing, and gives him Christ in viaticum as nourishment for the journey, she speaks with gentle assurance:
Go forth, Christian soul, from this world
in the name of God the almighty Father,
who created you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God,
who suffered for you,
in the name of the Holy Spirit,
who was poured out upon you.
Go forth, faithful Christian!
May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with Joseph, and all the angels and saints. . . .
May you return to [your Creator]
who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints
come to meet you as you go forth from this life. . . .
May you see your Redeemer face to face. 591
To read more go here:http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a12.htm
We need not despair. We need not fear. We must trust that what God has told us in His Holy Word is true.
For God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him. Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do. 1Thessalonians 5:9-11
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where [I] am going you know the way.” John 14:1-4
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself. Philippians 3:20-21
Next time you are in a hospital, perhaps ask if they have “The Hope Initiative” or other spiritual lIfelines and request them for yourself or your loved ones.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.
1 Peter 1:3-5
I want to spend all of eternity with You, but I do not want You to be a stranger to me when I get there! I pray that You will give me a great desire to want to get to know You better while I am here through Your Holy Word, the teachings of the Church and the Sacraments, so that when the day comes, I will have great hope and trust in Your love for me, my God and my Father, and can rest in peace that all will be well. Thank You that each of my days is written in Your Lamb’s Book of Life, and therefore I need not fear, but only trust and hope in You.
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.