By Matt DeBall, coordinator of Mission Advancement communications
“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.”
-Psalm 146:5, NIV
The world is full of people looking for meaning. Whether in a place of scarcity or sufficiency, people are asking questions—in reflection or conversation—about how to thrive, how to succeed, how to find satisfaction in life.
The search for a path to navigate the challenges of life is not new. People from multiple nations from the ancient Near East (before the common era in the region now known as the Middle East) recognized the God of heaven as the source of the good gifts of life and wondered how to please this God. As the people of Israel were chosen by Yahweh and given the life-giving and life-guiding Torah, the path to live in harmony with God, all people, and all of creation became more clear.
Even with the way to life outlined, Israel still experienced seasons of confusion and struggle. Along the way, they needed reminders about how to orient themselves in the world and with God in order to find help in times of need and at all times to have hope. As we look to Psalm 146, we find a hymn for Israel that now serves as a song of instruction for us concerning how we praise God well—with our voices but also with our lives. This hymn reveals two markers of how we affirm that our hope is in the Lord.
First, we declare our hope in the Lord by putting our trust in God. There are many leaders, causes, and organizations vying for our attention, and some of them are worthy of it. With November elections wrapping up, we remember how it is a healthy practice for us to engage in the political process as we feel inclined. Nonetheless, the Psalmist calls us to put our ultimate hope and trust in God regardless of who we vote for or what groups we affiliate with.
Within the Church of the Brethren, we point to God as the help that each of us needs. We welcome people from all walks of life rather than use human-made markers of division. In all facets of our life together, we strive to declare our full trust in God rather than in leaders who can fail us and systems that are imperfect. We worship God, individually and corporately, by nurturing hope in God in heads and hearts and also revealing trust in God through our voices and hands.
Second, we declare our hope in God through caring for the vulnerable. We know that God is the defender and provider of the overlooked, the outcast, and the oppressed. We also remember the words of Jesus to love God and to love others as an extension of our love for God (Matthew 22:37-40). As a result, we seek to be present with the vulnerable and attentive to their needs. When people are abandoned or afflicted, we seek to be present with them—that they may see the love and provision of God, and together, we may see the restoring work of God.
The Church of the Brethren is committed to continuing the work of Jesus and being a caring presence in neighborhoods near and far. It’s missions and ministries nurture faith for people of all ages, accompany communities through recovery from disaster or violence, and build relationships to navigate life in community. Wherever people are asking questions of meaning and purpose, we seek to be present, to listen, and to respond. Through our lives and the work we do together, we proclaim our hope is in the Lord.
On Giving Tuesday, November 29, we will sing again of our hope in God and how the Lord sustains the work of the Church of the Brethren. We also give thanks for you and for the ways that we serve together. Learn more about our faith-building and life-changing ministries at www.brethren.org/greatthings or support them today at www.brethren.org/givingtuesday.