I have days when I wonder whether the upheaval happening in the Church today is something permanent and damaging. Is the Church really slipping into a decay that will leave the world without moral compass or a bridge to the divine? Or is there hope of something better coming that we cannot yet see?
I came across this excerpt from Martin Luther King’s 1964 speech upon receiving the Nobel Prize. Whenever I read it, I wish he were alive today to tell us again what he told us at that time:
…Let me close by saying that I have the personal faith that mankind will somehow rise up to the occasion and give new directions to an age drifting rapidly to its doom. In spite of the tensions and uncertainties of this period something profoundly meaningful is taking place. Old systems of exploitation and oppression are passing away, and out of the womb of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born…”The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.”
“Here and there an individual or group dares to love, and rises to the majestic
heights of moral maturity. So in a real sense this is a great time to be alive.
Therefore, I am not yet discouraged about the future. Granted that the
easygoing optimism of yesterday is impossible… Granted that we face a world crisis which leaves us standing so often amid the surging murmur of life’s restless sea. But every crisis has both its dangers and its opportunities. It can spell either salvation or doom. In a dark confused world the kingdom of God may yet reign in the hearts of men.
Martin Luther King
Woody Guthrie penned these words about hope in his book Pastures of Plenty:
The note of hope is the only note that can help us or save us from falling to the bottom of the heap of evolution because, largely, about all a human being is, anyway, is just a hoping machine.
There are many things we may be called upon to give up in this life. Hope is not one of them!