Today’s Readings (all 1 link):  Exodus 1-2, Psalm 8, Matthew 13:24-58

On one level, it is easy to see today’s readings as covering a broad range of life.  As I read the passages, I kept hearing the word HOPE in the words.  God’s word to us is often like this –  where we hear a common thought, and, so,  I encourage you to listen in a way similar as you read through the Bible with us.

The bookends of today’s reading begin in Exodus with the start of oppression of the Israelites in the bondage of Egypt’s Pharaoh.  There is the emergence of Israel’s hope in Moses in Exodus and, the reality of some who reject Jesus concluding today’s reading.  I’ll save Psalm 8 for a bit later.

Think about this simple question…think about it deeply…what do you hope for?  It’s easy to think about all the ills of this world.  We can find lots of reasons to be unhappy about something…even to the point of thinking that we, too, are oppressed. And when the dust settles, is this really true?

As I write this, Tari and I have been to the Joliet Hospice Home – saying goodbye to our bocce ball partner and I just got home from getting my hair cut. Not to be confusing…it’s been a day of ups and downs like most of us know about.  I will miss Bart and, yet, I was renewed while getting my hair cut.  I go to The Salon Professional Academy in Shorewood – a teaching school for those wanting to cut and style hair.  I started going there about 8 years ago when my daughter Lisa’s college roommate was there and needed to practice cutting men’s hair.  I’ve been going ever since – it is a place of learning and hope for those who want to get into the “hair business”.  Well, tonight, I started with a new student who has had many hardships in the area of “being a parent”.

Now, why would I tell you of this?  You see, tonight was another example of someone who has been through some incredibly difficult times as a parent and yet, realizes that God has been in her life…guiding her and offering her the hope only he can.  Obviously, I cannot tell you of the details, but, I am renewed by her faith despite all the trials she has endured…this young lady has a faith that is nothing short of hope-filled in a God who is majestic!

Have you really read Psalm 8?  Go back and do it again.  Listen to the words…When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them,  mortals that you care for them?’  Let me ask once again…what is your hope?  When you are feeling oppressed…what is your hope?  Who is Jesus to you?  Is Jesus your hope – yesterday, today and tomorrow?