Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hope Springs Eternal (or Until the Shout)

What a beautiful morning!

My wife woke me up at 8:00 this morning and helped me out to our back deck. It is such a nice day for mid-April in Pennsylvania. The warmth of the sun. A cool breeze. Birds singing. A woodpecker pecking. Tall pine trees. Trees with spring buds. An occasional dog barking. The greenery of spring flowers poking up through the soil.

She even served me breakfast outside. Eggs and sausage. Toast with local honey. Coffee. Mmm.

Hope springs eternal. These words are from a line in an Alexander Pope poem, An Essay on Man, written in 1733.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

I read that the poet attempted to use rationalistic philosophy to explain the ways of God to man, much like John Donne attempted to do in his works. Not knowing enough about the context of this poem, I hesitate to make any kind of attempt to interpret Pope's meaning ( I guess I should have paid more attention in my high school literature classes.), but I like his use of these three words together: hope, springs, eternal.

Springtime is a time of hope. A time in which the dead of winter gives way to new life. A time in which we celebrate the newness of life available to those who place their faith in Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection. New life. Eternal life.

Days like today remind us that there is hope. Hope for this day. Hope for tomorrow. Hope for an eternity with God in heaven.

Days like today remind me that I am truly blessed to have life. And not just life, biologically speaking. But life, spiritually. To be conscious of God's character and ways. To have a life connected to Him through His Son.

A few days ago, my spirit was not as upbeat as it is today. That is part of the character of spring. A little bit of rain is necessary for growth to occur. Without the rain, we cannot truly enjoy the beauty that springtime offers.

Pope speaks of the uneasiness of the soul as it anticipates the life to come. There is an uneasiness associated with spring. For some, there is a longing for the process of change to wind down and for summer to arrive. [I actually enjoy the change of seasons. And the rain.] There is an uneasiness in this life as we await the Shout (a reference to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and the return of Christ for His own; I received a card today that was signed, "Until the Shout" - it was such a great reminder that I had to borrow it!):

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Hope springs eternal. I am not sure what Pope meant, but, for me, spring is a reminder of the eternal hope we have in the Lord Jesus Christ. A hope that can be found in no religion or philosophy, only in a relationship with the One who created us and gave His life to redeem us.

Until the Shout!

1 comment:

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