The Stages of Hope

by Julia Choi
PT ’17 Speaker, ’18 Speaker Chair

Stress-filled Struggling. Rodin’s famous sculpture known as The Thinker (a.k.a. The Poet was the artist’s interpretation of Dante meditating above the Gates of Hell. This was a larger part of Rodin’s oeuvre (Fr. work) that he was not able to see to completion. The image of the thinker deep in thought ironically is not somewhat at peace or in joyful bliss – instead like Rodin’s Dante there is a sleep-deprived struggle at the precipice.

Tasting and Savoring. In contrast for celebrations, people are often gathered over (or other poses unlike Rodin’s depiction of Dante) hors d’oeuvre (Fr. outside of work). What is a clear foretaste of the kingdom, or first fruits (which Caleb and Joshua gathered in hope), or hors d’oeuvre to prepare the palate for what is still to come? What have you found compelling for why you continue? What are the important things in life?

Feasting. In the process of researching about happiness and creativity, the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has studied the phenomenon of flow in artists who would get lost in the creative process, and “produce intense feelings of enjoyment.” This process of flow and its outcome seems to mirror what was described during the process of creation in the Bible: “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31a). The process for Creation sounded like joy-filled work. What defines worthwhile and lasting work for you?

Inviting Others to the Table and Enjoying Feasting Together. A brilliant Russian scientist and atheist Nikolai Vavilov lived a remarkable life in establishing the world’s first seed bank, to the point of losing his own life for this cause. He instilled in others the devotion to not let others starve, by going to the farthest parts of the world to gather precious seeds that may be needed to replenish the world’s food supply. During His time on earth, Jesus himself made time to feed and nourish others with bread and food, which He miraculously multiplied to abundance to fill crowds. What is sustaining and worth sharing about your work? “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:13-14)

So I ask you again, what is the reason for your hope? What do you already see about His kingdom – and what glimmers do you see of it today? Let your light shine – and share the good news of how He and His grace is brighter as an encouragement to others: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15)

Passion Talks invites you to join us at our next Passion Dialogues event “hope.” on Saturday, June 23rd where we explore what God is actively doing in the Bay Area to deliver His Hope to the region. If you’ve something to add to this important topic, by all means, consider submitting a talk for this year’s conference to be held August 10th & 11th. If you want to increase your dosage of hope-filled dialogue, be sure to join us in August for this year’s conference!


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