By Will Randolph

HOPE Hope is always been a magical word for me; an important word for me; a meaningful word. Hope is said to be belief in things unseen. I hope something will happen which means there is an outcome that I desire to see and I believe more than not it will come to pass. As a kid, I hoped I would make the Basketball team. I worked hard to make the team expecting that the hard work would be rewarded. And it was. What if I had had no hope? I would have given up and never made the team.

In my Doctoral studies I met older adults who could endure great amounts of pain and still maintain an optimistic outlook on life. It was if they had overcome their pain. I also met older adults who were full of despair. Despair is the opposite of hope. It is believing that nothing will improve or get better. These older adults were so overcome by their pain it was as if they had stopped living.

The CEO of our Agency has reminded the staff over and over again to have hope and to be people of hope. Dr. Tim Bias has given us an acronym to remind us to be full of hope but to practice it with others. The acronym goes like this. Hospitality, Opportunity, Purpose, and Engagement.

Hospitality I wrote about several blogs ago. Hospitality means that a person welcomes others. The word is the same word from where Hospital comes and it is a place of healing. Hope is healing. It brings a repair and return of people to where they were suppose to be in the first place. Opportunity means being open to what God send our way. It is a matter of being open to what God is doing with us. Purpose is how we respond to God. It is knowing where we are

Opportunity is looking for places to serve God. Looking for the defining moments in which we have the ability to do something extra-ordinary. They say all of life is timing. Being at the right place at the right time. Opportunity, means to be always ready to do something for God and to see the possibilities that exist to do those things.

Purpose is answering a higher calling or meaning in life. This is best done by being part of something greater than ourselves. It is the action based upon our identity and desires and where the two come together. Purpose is our reason for living. As Christians our reason for living even has to do with serving God. not ourselves.

older-adult-its-a-boomer-worldFinally, there is engagement. Engagement is a joining together in a magical moment to help make something happen. It is taking on a relationship with others. At the General Board of Discipleship this engagement is to bring about empowerment, that is to grant effectiveness and ability through the resources we make available to clergy and laity alike.

It is almost as if all of these ingredients go together to form hope. Or at least that is the hope of our church and its General Board of Discipleship.