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First Things, January 2017

December 23, 2016

A new bank recently opened at the corner of Wilshire and Vermont. I see their sign as I come out of the subway on my way to church. The name of the bank is, “Bank of Hope”.

I laughed the first time I saw it. In a bank, you want more than “hope.” I don’t hope my money will be safe, I expect a promise that it will be safe. I want a guarantee.

Faced with an ignorant, untrustworthy, narcissistic President, rapidly naming the least-qualified and most extreme persons to leadership positions, we ask, “How can I have hope?” But is it really, “hope” we want, or a guarantee? And is it ever appropriate to expect that the future give us a guarantee?

I have hope because I continue to have faith that a bright future is possible. Not guaranteed. But the future is never guaranteed. The future is open and waits for us to create it. Yes, a bright future seems more distant than previously. But the possibility is still there. So I have hope.

A bright future is still possible because most people are good, most people are smart, and most people are strong. Trump and his administration are a grave threat but not an insurmountable obstacle. Don’t let him scare you. And don’t let the people who support him scare you, either. Remember, Trump lost the popular vote. Bigly.

Unitarian Universalism is a religion of hope, not guarantees. We don’t make empty promises. We don’t pretend to know what cannot be known. The future is uncertain. But we aren’t a religion of certainty. We are the church of hope.

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