Fr Albert Nolan, author of ‘Jesus before Christianity’, spoke today in Potchefstroom on hope-giving spirituality. He defines our mission today as, more then ever, to give account of the hope that is within us (1 Pet 3:15). He recounts how we are experiencing a terrifying shift from an age of hope to an age of hopelessness. Many things we’ve put our hope in have failed us, whether is has been scienctific and technological progress, or religious movements, like the Reformation or vatical Council II, theology of liberation or even Madiba magic.
There is only one unshakable foundation and that is God and God alone.
What have people been hoping for, though ?
Heaven, Second coming, the coming of the Kingdom ? It sustained many, yet it doesnt sustain many Christians today anymore. Hence we need to revisit our eschatology.
A better life for all ? World peace, elimination of suffering? transcend our selfishness.
Perhaps, changing the unhealthy discourses.
Some people have just one hope: the survival of the earth community.
The earth and human species are under threat. The hope is: at least we will survive.
Sometimes it is narrow and selfish: me, my family, church and nation.
Gods will be done on earth
A hope-giving spirituality, then, would be a spirituality that deepens our sense of the reality of God. Yet for many people God is dead: despite their profession of belief, in practice God, plays no role in their lives at all. We cannot blame them for it: the images of God (punishing judge, supreme male patriarch, the all powerfull manipulator, etc) is hopelessly misleading. Hence for hope we must to unlearn these images of God. We should not worship images(idols) of God.
We need a re-enchantment with God. The removal of mystery lead to the death of God. Our way to the mystery of God is not knowledge. Hence, my relationship to God is wonder, being enthrawled, being marveled. The new cosmology, away from Newton’s mechanistic machine cosmology towards Einstein, the mystery. Then the next step is worship and adore God- we can only bow down and worship- we are in teh presecne of some so much bigger then what we are. One we’ve done that, then trust and confidence in God comes forth- we believe what jesus taught us… God becomes like a personal lover… an expreience of love. This is prayer, not knowledge or theology. It a relationship.
As we put our trust in God we teh start to see God at work everywhere, at the most unexpected places and in the most unlikely ways. God is at work everywhere. its very mysterious, yet we know God is in control. Jesus invites us to participate in Gods work, This is our mission. we dont know ewhat the future holds but we know- Gods work will continue into the future- here lies our hope: Gods work will continue.And this is what we give account to: of the God we trust. Evene if we dont understand and see hiw work yet, we believe in his work.