Sermon: Imprisoned by Hope

joannaBy Joanna Shenk, First Mennonite Church of San Francisco

Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Zechariah 9:9-12

I had a hard time getting out of bed yesterday morning. I was feeling the weight of a lot of things and wondered if it was futile and disingenuous to write a sermon that offered hope. I wasn’t feeling hopeful. I was feeling more like the title to the most recent Metallica album, “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct.” The bad guys keep winning. Vulnerable people are endlessly oppressed. And it seems like so many people don’t even have a moral consciousness to appeal to. 

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Hope

dessertBy Joyce Hollyday

Once again…still…our eyes and hearts are riveted on tragedies afar and close at hand: terrorized families in flimsy boats on the other side of the globe fleeing desperately toward what they hope is safety; a tide of killings at home brought into sharp focus by young people demanding that black lives matter. We hunger and thirst for a world in which peace, dignity, and justice prevail.

When I’m tempted to despair, I remember the spring of 1991. It was a time that seemed hopeless to me. Three teenagers I knew were senselessly killed—one stabbed, two shot—on the deadly streets of the Washington, DC neighborhood where I lived. Hundreds of women and children died when U.S. forces bombed the Amariya shelter in Iraq on Ash Wednesday. Continue reading

Gates of Hope

stonesOur mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of hope — not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower; nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; nor the strident gates of self-righteousness, which creak on shrill and angry hinges (our people cannot hear us there; they cannot pass through); nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of ‘Everything is gonna be all right,’ but a very different, sometimes very lonely place, the place of truth-telling, about your own soul first of all and its condition, the place of resistance and defiance, the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it might be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle — and we stand there, beckoning and calling, telling people what we are seeing, asking people what they see.

  • Victoria Safford

Community Counteracts the Seduction of Cynicism

From Lydia Wylie-Kellermann of Word & World and Jeanie Wylie Community in Detroit:

Cynicism seems an easy road these days. From my own porch, I watch the house across the street burn just days after US bank told us they had no intention to ever sell. On the corner a fifteen year old girl was shot and killed. At the Catholic Worker, I spend more time answering phone calls and turning down desperate pleas for a place to stay that night. In Detroit, democracy slips away as the city is taken over by corporate interests. Wars continue endlessly with no end in sight and growing rumors of more to come. Not to mention the political climate, the environmental climate, the continuing racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia around us. We all have an ever growing list. It is all too Continue reading