I stood on Hope

I stood on Hope

Today, I got to stand on hope. Literally.


My family attended the dedication of the new fountain in our favorite local park. We watched this building project for months in our trips to the park. Few things thrill a little boy’s heart more than watching real, live construction. Few things thrill this mama’s heart more than learning the theme of this new fountain: a Peace Fountain.

Before I could even think of the scripture reference for the first verse that came to mind, I learned that powerful words would be etched around this fountain. Quotes from local people who had worked for justice, peace and love would circle around this fountain. I couldn’t wait to see this tangible picture of the prophet’s words, “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24)

In our city, like many cities, we need the waters of peace like never before. In our city, like many cities, we have people who work to make the fountain of peace come to life. People gave their time, their expertise. People planted trees, spread pinestraw, and donated bricks. People put themselves into this work.

The fountain is the centerpiece of a park that has been brought back to life. The last time this fountain stood tall was about 1934. This area and this park have been through years of neglect and disrepair. But through the work of a community coming together, transformation is there. It is a whole new scene. It looks like hope.

When my newsfeed began to fill with responses to the latest violence yesterday, hope was not the word that came to mind. What came to mind was anger, sorrow and embarrassment. I was angry at comments that there is nothing to be done. I was sorrowful for the loss of precious lives to violence, again. I was embarrassed by the ridiculous comments from the politicians and the pious. What words could did they really think were okay to post? These memes, these re-posts. How dare they.

Just when I hit my limit of hearing any more words meant to provoke, I read that “God Isn’t Fixing This.” God Isn’t. That’s the bold provocation from this media source that reminds me of the quiet guy in the back of the classroom who cannot listen to it for one more second and flips over the desk. Okay. Deep breath. I hear you. It seems you’ve had enough. Enough with the “prayers for” tweets. Enough with prayers that sound like rallly cries for your team. Enough with prayer as the punctuation to a simple sentence rather than the starting bell to a work day. I hear you. Prayer tweets are just not enough. But I still claim that God is.

God is, through us.

God is making things new. God is bringing life to places where there was almost nothing. On a day when I almost nodded my head that the “fixing” isn’t God’s department, I needed to walk in the park.

I really needed to walk around that fountain today. I needed to stand on a sidewalk that used to be a pile of rubble. I needed to feel the path beneath my feet that was paved by families, groups, and generosity. I needed to see their names. I needed to clap with strangers and listen as children spoke poetry that made a fountain spring to life.

I needed to walk and stand and see so that I could remember how transformation happens. It happens shovel by shovel, brick by brick. People putting themselves into the work of change. Dream by dream and sketch by sketch, there stands a testament to transformation.

You can’t tell me there is nothing to be done because I have stood in a place where it has been done. Peace happens brick by brick.

Also from Erin Robinson Hall


Too much for the Methodists

Today’s Wednesday Prayer is brought to you by one of my favorites – favorite writer, favorite truth teller, favorite singer. She just happens to be my favorite sister, too. She led in worship on All Saints Day last week, and wrote this gorgeous prayer. I’m told that her instructions were, “Yes, you can be yourself. Put in enough Ashley that it’s you, but not so much that you scare the Methodists.”  Now, I know Methodists don’t scare easily, and neither does God. I’m thankful that Ashley put her whole self in the prayer. Methodists – and Baptists – would do well to realize what a gift they have in counting Ashley among their own. A General Thanksgiving for All Saints Day by Ashley Robinson Blessed Comforter, we thank you for the lives of the poets, the prophets, and the profane; the well-behaved and the rabble-rousers, the peacemakers, the music makers, the noisemakers, the caramel cake makers and the mess makers; the list keepers and the delightfully scattered, and even the unnamed, undocumented, and unmentionable people who have gone before us. We thank you for the great cloud of witnesses that shades us with comfort as we continue to walk each other home. We thank you for the saints still among us who awaken us to the possibility of your kindom here on earth. We thank you for the borrowed breath that sustains us from dust to dust. We find hope that you hear every damning why, every shattered Hallelujah, every tear-ragged thank you as a groaning to be filled with your life-giving spirit that welcomes us into community with the...

Saving Your Life

I peeked out my upstairs, bedroom window on November 1, about 8:00 am, and looked out into our backyard. Amidst the sunlight peering through fall leaves and the dew glistening on the grass, I saw . . . A tiny storm trooper running full speed through the yard. My little four-year old neighbor. Our dog barking her head off alerted me to this visitor outside. I couldn’t quite get my early-morning brain to pull thoughts together and figure out why he was there, and where his mom was. We had celebrated Halloween with friends and their littles the night before, so I wondered: Did he sleep in his costume last night? (Makes total sense) Did we forget someone when we all went to bed last night? Then, I found my phone and saw this text:   After dying laughing, I searched my son’s room and found the mask under a pile of toys and clothes. Obviously. I ran outside and delivered the mask to the little storm trooper and his super-mom in the mini-van. That one is only topped by the text from earlier in the week that made me DIE laughing. I can’t. Cannot. The image of my 100 percent stylish, Type A, take-on-the-world friend hoisting herself onto a mannequin to strip him down made me sit right down and laugh. Which always makes my day brighter. There was also this honest lament made me howl: I mean. Tiny Sister Friend KNOWS the truth about her favorite clothes. She won’t get to wear them again. Probably not ever. Who among us has not felt bummed about a favorite...

I Brave

Deep waters, flames, and fears have come before. They will probably come again. But the narrative I want my child to have, and the narrative I hope to voice continually for myself and for my family is this: Fear doesn’t win. We are strong. And just in case we’re not brave enough, we will be brave for each other.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This