The Holy Ground of Hope

Sitting down to write about Hope, the Advent theme this week, I found myself wondering what hope feels like. Unexpectedly, a memory of a shared outdoor church service this past summer came to mind. Gathering with another church at a waterfront park, we were assembled under the blue sky ceiling of the sanctuary that is the Columbia River Gorge, a space as sacred as any church, mosque, or cathedral.

We came together to lift our voices, hearts, and minds in praise, thanksgiving, and reflection. At the beginning of the service, we were led in a time of honoring the history of this part of the world that we call home. Native peoples inhabited the Gorge long before white people came to dwell and dominate, and the pastor led us through a series of prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving for these people who came before us, their care of the land, and for the shared earth upon which we stand. With eyes closed, as her words poured over me, I had a sense unlike any before, of the ground actually holding me up. It was not my feet pressing down, but the earth rising up. There wasn’t anything required of me to engage this support except to recognize that it had always been there, was there in that moment, and would be there in the future.

That sense of the solid ground upon which to stand is the place from which we can dare to hope. And we can dare to hope because it isn’t our feet firmly planted that hold us up, but the holy ground upon when we stand.

Sometimes hope feels like the firm foundation found squarely beneath our feet.