By Interim Pastor Rick Biedermann  American Lutheran Church, La Porte City

Hope

We had some unusually warm days for February. I think it gave everyone spring fever. I’m waiting for the robins to show up. I don’t know how long I’ve been doing this but every late winter it is a sign for me that spring is on its way. It is a hopeful sign that winter will soon be over. Even though we will likely still have more snow, I know that it won’t last.
It is a good to have things to look forward to. It is good to have hope. If we don’t have hope we can easily become cynical or apathetic. Now there can be a negative side to hope. Sometimes it can happen that we spend our life always looking forward to the next thing, the next season, the next visit, the next meal and that can keep us from enjoying the present. It can be difficult to just be in the present moment – appreciating and giving thanks for right now. Does my longing for spring keep me from enjoying today? We need to keep a healthy balance between experiencing what is happening right now in our lives and having hope for what is to come.
Jesus said that he came so that we might have abundant life. By abundant, Jesus didn’t mean having lots of money or lots of stuff. I think that abundant means a fullness to life – an appreciation of all God has given us right now – today. But we also live in a broken world. There is sin, disease, broken relationships, hunger, poverty and the list goes on. That is why we also need hope.
During this season of Lent we are reminded of our Lord’s journey to the cross. He was willing to suffer and die to forgive all people. But it didn’t end with his death. God raised him from the dead on Easter morning. And that is how we can have abundant life right now, today and every day. And his resurrection is also what gives us ultimate hope. Death is not the end. God is more powerful than death. There is life after death. And that is something to look forward to and that is where our hope lies – even more than the robins signaling the coming of spring.