Hope

Hope doesn’t become real just because we light outer candles.  And peace doesn’t become real just because we light outer candles.  Neither do joy and love become real just because we light outer candles.  These exalted ideas become real when we light inner candles.  In other words, these exalted ideas become real when we allow them greater welcome into our hearts, and then into our immediate circles, and then into our greater communities and beyond.

These exalted ideas become real when we remember that rituals which rise from consciousness, point to consciousness.

So, let us light outer candles, absolutely!  But with every new flame, let us be reminded of the kindling of hope, peace, joy and love where it matters most — in the bosom of an expectant humanity.

But Unity thought hasn’t been kind to this idea of hope.

Some quotes from notables, include, “Hoping is similar to ordinary, half-asleep daydreaming.”

And this, “When you hope, you are afraid you can't.  When you decree, you know you can.”

“Some people indulge in hoping while clutching their rabbit's foot in one hand and an amulet in the other.”

Or, how about this, “Hope helps to pass the time, but that is all it does.  Hope is of the future.  It calls for manifestation of desires at some future time.”

“A hope for future manifestation is a demand for inaction at the present.”

“If all the hopes of humankind were laid end to end, they would make a very long string of probably pleasant but unfulfilled desires, a sad row of potential good.”

And finally, “Hope and wish are kindred words. Both are passive, inert, with an interweaving of fear.”

Even Unity Cofounder, Charles Fillmore – of this hope – offered, and I quote, “Hope is the expectation of good in the future.  It is a quality (good as far as it goes) of sense mind because it is subject to time.  Faith is the certain knowledge that our good is ours right now.  Hope is comforting; it is a pleasant indulgence.  Like daydreaming, it enables worried minds to endure themselves.”

As I said, Unity thought hasn’t been kind to this idea of hope.

And I don’t fully disagree with Unity thought.  Neither do I fully accept it.  And so, yet again, I’m destined to enjoy the role of being something of an ordained agitator, a frocked firebrand, a robed rabble-rouser.  But I’m really quite good with that.  For in the end, I think most of the world’s troubles come not from the agitators, firebrands and rabble-rousers but from those who mindlessly accept the wisdom they’re handed without subjecting it to the rigors of their own inner sensibilities.

So, I don’t fully disagree with Unity thought.  Neither do I fully accept it.  And here’s why.

If you’ve ever sat in your kitchen and wondered just how you were going to get the electricity turned back on, you can relate to my suggestion that sometimes hope is where you have to start.

If you’ve ever considered a difficulty so daunting that the solidity of a present faith is beyond your reach; if you’ve ever considered a dream so daring that the steadfastness of a present knowing is outside your grasp; then you can relate to the suggestion that sometimes hope is where you have to start.

So, if we imagine the spiritual conversation about hope to be a journey, its problem is that all-too-often, people think hope is where the journey ends instead of understanding that hope is how the journey starts.  A life rooted in hope alone is as shunned by Unity as a life of little more than magical thinking, a life of little more than wishful dreaming.  But I would suggest that it’s hope that compels the human to step back onto the path toward the solidity of a present faith.  It’s hope that compels the human to step back onto the path toward the steadfastness of a present knowing.

Hope might not be where you want to live.  But sometimes hope is where you have to start.

Maybe that’s the wisdom of celebrating hope.  Whether an ancient people under the oppressive rule of a foreign power or a modern people under the heavy demands of a sophisticated world, sometimes hope is where you have to start.

So, Unity thought hasn’t been kind to this idea of hope.  But I would suggest that the bright light of faith’s knowing has its roots in the optimistic spark of hope’s willingness.