"Hope Is..." (Reading I Wrote for a Worship Service at Binghamton UU Young Adult Con)

“Hope is not a strategy.” So sayeth legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi. I see where he’s coming from. He’s a football coach. He needs a gameplan. He needs effort. He needs everyone to do their job. There’s a lot to be said for that in the work we do, too, frankly. But hope is the foundation upon which we lay our strategy and our effort and our work. Hope is the reason WHY we have a strategy...the reason WHY we do this work. Hope is the light of the promise of tomorrow reflected in the eyes of today.

Emily Dickinson says that hope is a little bird perched in our souls that sings a little tune and keeps us warm. Nah, man. Hope is a PHOENIX RISING from the ashes. Hope is a FIRE in the belly of a beast chained to a dungeon who ROARS “ENOUGH,” shattering its bonds and BURSTING forth into open air crying “FREEDOM!”

Hope emerges out of useful anger flowing from our hearts and our mouths and dissolving the fear that holds us back. Hope emerges out of desperation for salvation and recognition of connection. It holds us close and nurses our wounds when we are cold and broken. It lifts us up and carries us when we can’t imagine how we can possibly go on. It is a radical vision of wholeness and justice and liberation. An unshakable belief in a better world that has yet to come to pass and sometimes seems like it never will but still we choose hope.

We choose hope and we choose hope again and again and again and again. We choose hope over and over and over again even when it seems like a ridiculous choice because we KNOW we can do better. Because if we choose to give in to fear and despair, none of us will ever be free and none of us will ever be whole. And this we will not abide. We will not abide imperialism and exploitation and genocide. We will not abide oppression and persecution and systemic violence. We will not abide our brothers and sisters and cousins being starved or parched or abused or neglected.

That is not.who.we.are. WE are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We can do better. We MUST do better. WE WILL do better. We hope.


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