Editors note: “Spiritual leaders answer” is a weekly column inviting Kaua‘i religious and spiritual leaders to share their doctrine’s perspective on a suggested subject. Every Friday a topic is printed inviting a response. This week two new voices join the conversation: Rev. Rachel Schwab of Hanapepe Hawaiian Congregational Church and Pam Wylie of North Shore Christian Science group. Thoughts or suggestions for future topics are always welcome. Next week’s topic is on stewardship. The topic at the end of the column is for the following week.
Rev. Rachel Schwab
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (Bible, New Revised Standard Version)
Does hope come before faith or does faith come before hope? In the Reformed Christian tradition the answer is neither. It is in fact, connected. One of the founding fathers of the Protestant Reformation, John Calvin, wrote about the interconnectedness of hope and faith in the “Institutes of the Christian Religion” (1536).
He writes: “Hope strengthens faith that it may not waver in God’s promises, or begin to doubt concerning their truth. Hope refreshes faith, that it may not become weary.”
How often do we become weary with our many responsibilities at work, school and our families? How easy it is to get distracted from the things that keep us from reaching for hope in our lives when we are stressed or burned out? Without hope, we can end up losing faith in the relationships that matter most. We need to be reminded from time to time that our faith in God will guide us and give us strength, especially when we feel hopeless. Let us be refreshed by the hope that God provides for us as we lead lives of faithful service to our families, our community, our world, and most importantly, to God.
North Shore Christian Science
Looking out the window of the building in the middle of Los Angeles, there was a fire burning a quarter mile away. I was in the middle of a riot — the one sparked by the “not guilty” verdict given to the white police officers accused of beating an African-American. Twenty minutes earlier I had tried to leave the building but the security guards stopped us: There were rioters everywhere. Now, with the rioters gone, we had to evacuate the building.
Somehow we had to make our way safely through the city streets to our homes. Mine was 40 miles away. There were fires and looters in all directions.
Two things gave me hope. First, I learned in the Christian Science Sunday school that mankind is one family. As far as race, there is no “us versus them.” Certainly there was frustration and anger from the verdict, understandably so. But that couldn’t change my sense of family.
Second, I felt astonishingly safe. I kept thinking of a phrase from the Christian Science Hymnal: “every need supply.” The complete phrase is “The Lord will hear before we call and every need supply.” I knew God was my source of calmness and would supply me with a secure route home.
I followed side roads to a freeway that led away from the city. Even though there were fires on all the major roads I didn’t run into any looters, blocked roads or fires. During the four-hour journey home I kept my thought on the oneness of the human family.
I was safe. But what about the riot itself? Is humanity doomed to eternally fight?
In the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy says that “Spiritual sense, contradicting the material senses, involves intuition, hope, faith, understanding, fruition, reality.”
Listening to that spiritual sense we have the intuition that there’s a better way than fighting; we have the hope that everyone can turn to those better ways to solve problems. We have faith that common sense can prevail. Finally, we have the understanding that goodwill brings better solutions than malice or misunderstanding. We can reach the reality of one harmonious human family. It can happen. There is hope.
The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Koloa
Hope is confidence that what we wish for will be granted. But if our wishes are limited only to material things, anything gained is only temporary. Rather we should set our hopes on God, who is merciful and all-wise. By submitting our will to God’s will and by trusting that He wants nothing but the best for us, we are better able to develop spiritual qualities. These qualities will benefit us both in the material and spiritual worlds. Faith and trust in God give us hope for our lives in this world and throughout eternity.
The Baha’i writings say, “Love and obey your heavenly Father, and rest assured that divine help is yours. Verily I say unto you that you shall indeed conquer the world! Only have faith, patience and courage — this is but the beginning, but surely you will succeed for God is with you.”
“My hope is that you may become free from the material world and strive to understand the meaning of the heavenly world, the world of lasting qualities, the world of truth, the world of eternal kingliness, so that your life may not be barren of results, for the life of the material man has no fruit of reality. Lasting results are produced by reflecting the heavenly existence.”
Science of Mind practitioner
One of the best quotes I’ve learned in Science of Mind is “What you believe, you receive.” Mark 11:23 says it: “ ….Whatever you ask for …, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Hope is defined as “desire with expectation of fulfillment.” Belief goes a step further with total “acceptance of the truth.” It is a knowing that what you have asked for will occur. Maybe it won’t occur in the way you envisioned it, nor in the time expected; but if you believe something will occur, it will.
“It is done unto you according to your belief.” Asking and praying for something to be received in a perfect and loving way helps to define the way in which you receive. God doesn’t second guess us. He wants us to have all that we ever wanted to have … and more.
This is why I Iove the positive teachings of Ernest Holme’s, “Science of Mind.” It is said that we may ask for anything and it is God’s good will to give it, because of spirit’s great love for us. The key is not in simply hoping, but believing and trusting God. Then let go and let God.
Notice the miracles that occur every hour, every day. If you look more carefully, they don’t just happen. Miracles happen according to one or more persons’ belief and trust that something miraculous will occur. Sometimes people have even forgotten that they’ve asked for such a miracle.
As a child I would draw palms over and over and love to visit the ocean. It was no surprise that I now live in one of the most incredible tropical spots in the world. As a daughter with all brothers, I would dream and pretend that I had a sister, in fact a twin sister. It was no surprise to me that I had twin daughters. And many “miracles” follow according to my beliefs.
Hope is a beginning but appears almost fragile compared with belief. A strong and valid belief is that God only wants what we want. Nothing is accidental. It begins with an idea, then hope, then a belief that it can only be so. And so it is.
Topic for two week’s from today:
• Will you speak to us on
• Spiritual leaders are invited to e-mail responses of three to five paragraphs to email@example.com
• Deadline each week is
Tuesday, by 5 p.m.