Weekly Sermon Illustration: Hope That Brings Us Here

In our blog post every Monday we select a reading from the Revised Common Lectionary for the upcoming Sunday, and pair it with a Frederick Buechner reading on the same topic.

On March 23, 2014 we will celebrate The Third Sunday in Lent. Here is this week's reading from the book of Romans:

Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

The following is an excerpt from Buechner's sermon "Hope" - first published in A Room Called Remember and later in Secrets in the Dark.

Different as that school church was from churches in general, and different as those boys were from you and me, I think that what lay at the heart of their listening was the same thing that lies no less at your heart and mine and at the hearts of all the generations who worshiped here before us. I think it is hope that lies at our hearts and hope that finally brings us all here. Hope that in spite of all the devastating evidence to the contrary, the ground we stand on is holy ground because Christ walked here and walks here still. Hope that we are known, each one of us, by name, and that out of the burning moments of our lives he will call us by our names to the lives he would have us live and the selves he would have us become. Hope that into the secret grief and pain and bewilderment of each of us and of our world he will come at last to heal and to save.