Not much hope in the gospels … sort of

gospel hopeOn Jan. 1, we’ll publish the first number of a monthly periodical for Christian workers, in Portuguese, called “Ministry & Mission” (Ministério & Missão). It’s geared especially for those in our area. Though the first issue will have 12 pages, future ones will likely have fewer. Our way to invest more in moving off of square one, at times, to get the work done, and encouraging God’s servants in their task.

• In earlier years, I had published a little bulletin for workers, but it went by the wayside. It was called “The Evangelist” (O Evangelista). It reached a wider audience, across Brazil. This new one will also, but my major concern is closer to home.

• Though information is scattered about, today I put up a special page on our area congregational website on how to be saved. I’d written the text earlier in the week, or last week, I forget, but today it went public.

• Do you have something like this for your personal or congregational site? I’m amazed when I see the stats to our many sites, with visits from so many different countries. One of the stats not available is whether those visitors are true New Testament Christians are not. But the probabilities are good that very few of them are. So I’m thinking we need to get the basics of the gospel out there, right in front, for people to see. It may be the only time they see a gospel presentation. That gets to me, does it you?

• Already, speaking of our Portuguese sites, there are a couple of studies in other places, but nothing had been done on our church site.

• Lessee, probably you’d rather I talk about something closer to you, in English, maybe? Ah, here’s my new inspirational, motivational site, for an old effort. But you don’t want poetry, do you?

• Pinterest, maybe? I tinkered there some today, but it’s not really my thing. The world is going visual. The gospel is auditory. For good reason many of our five-finger plans start with “Hear.”

• The holiday season has been unseasonably sad for many of our folk and their relatives. A death. A brain tumor. A former neighbor and friend in hospital with stroke and bacterial infection. We’re not used to so much of that here among our people.

• Amazing that I just noticed it. Jesus uses the word hope (noun or verb, take your pick) only once, and that to refer to a false hope, in John 5.45: “Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope” (NRSV). And the gospels use it little as well. Why is that, do you reckon? I confess to being stumped.

• I’m teaching tomorrow on hope, twice, so it’s on my mind. Sweet, to talk about it twice in a day. The concern is to do the subject justice. But isn’t that true of every spiritual subject, and of Deity, especially?

• Let’s close by going back to Portuguese, a cultural item. The song “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less,” becomes, in translation, a song about faith. I figure it’s because the word hope in Portuguese is multi-syllabic: esperança. Faith () has one syllable. Not that you can’t work esperança into a song, but to translate lyrics and go from one to four syllables is a bit of a challenge. Especially since Portuguese tends to take more words to say something than in English.

• But in English we’ll keep singing the song with hope. May you sing loud and clear.