The events of the past few weeks have been nothing short of extraordinary. I cannot adequately put into words the effects of watching the events that have unfolded recently. From the racism and hatred that reared its ugly head in Charlottesville, to the massive devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. In addition to these recent events, I had a wedding, honeymoon and wedding celebration given by my church. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster! It’s been difficult to process all that has happened, and, in all honesty there were some things I just didn’t want to think about. The pain of watching white supremacists marching with torches reminiscent of the terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan was devastating to my soul. The attempts by some to justify to explain or to ignore these events, was equally troubling. When I arrived at the reception at my church, my mind and heart were still troubled. However, when I walked into the church and saw the beautiful celebration the members had organized, my eyes filled with tears. The generosity, the kindness, the outpouring of love was overwhelming. In that moment, the love of the church was powerful. I was reminded that there are people in this world who choose love and kindness. I was reminded that the church is uniquely equipped to shine the light of God’s love and hope and expel darkness. Their love resuscitated my hope. Then, I watched the actions of so many that reached out to help those whose homes were flooded in the Houston area. In this time of great tragedy and loss, people reached out to rescue their neighbors and complete strangers. No one cared where their rescuer was from or what they looked like. I had reason to hope yet again. Scripture reminds us that “hope does not disappoint us,” (Romans 5:5), and that “we live in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). Hope reminds us that God is at work in the dark places of this world. Hope gives us the courage to believe that things can, will and must change. The God who gives us hope through faith in Christ, calls us to faithful action out of that hope. We must affirm the equality and sacred worth of all persons and work together for this to become our reality. Hope encourages us so that we may encourage and help others. I choose today to live and to act in hope. Will you join me?