By Steve Nolt, professor of history at Goshen College
Reprinted from Advent Devotions
SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 (NRSV)
I’m reflecting on today’s text and this year’s Advent theme while in Nanchong, China, where my family has been accompanying a group of Goshen College students on their Study-Service Term.
Thinking about hope in this context, I was reminded of the words of Lu Xun, one of China’s most important modern writers. In 1921 he wrote, “Hope cannot be said to exist, nor can it be said not to exist. It is just like roads across the earth. For actually the earth had no roads to begin with, but when many people pass one way, a road is made.” For Lu, hope was not abstract or distant, but emerged from persistent action, in the present, by people around him.
I hear a similar sentiment from the Apostle Paul in today’s text. Amid all the things that might have discouraged him (read the rest of his letter to the Corinthians!), he found hope in God’s faithfulness as revealed in the ordinary lives of the believers in Corinth and in their daily witness in their world. They awaited a fuller revelation of the Lord, but their waiting was not an idle pause or an aimless hiatus. Enriched in speech and knowledge, not lacking in any spiritual gift, they were, imperfectly but surely, the living body of Christ in their community. And a road was made.
May hope be revealed to us, not only as a distant destination, but also as the journey itself: in the small, sometimes faltering, steps of faith – our own and those around and before us – that carry us onward. And a road is made.
SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9(NRSV)
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind — just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you — so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.