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Personal & Spiritual Development

Words on the Wind: Hope in Something Larger

By the Rev. Jennifer Nordstrom

As Unitarian Universalists, our faith calls us to have hope in something larger than ourselves, in some reality that is larger than either the individual or the present moment. That reality might be the courage of the human spirit, the beauty of humanity, the ground of all being, a larger love, the interdependent web of all existence, or even God. Regardless of the immediate circumstances you face, what do you believe is the ultimate reality that holds the present moment? Against what larger belief are you experiencing the here and now?

Hope includes a sense of possibility within mystery. The theologian Walter Brueggemann warned against the hopelessness that can come from reducing the ultimate mystery to a single rational moment in history. Mystery can open us up to hope when we admit we don’t know what will happen. When we open ourselves to a humble not-knowing, it becomes possible to explore the possibilities of the larger reality that holds the present moment. In humility, we can move towards the horizon beyond which we cannot see, holding the hope of our dreams like seeds for the future. Those dreams of a better tomorrow begin to live in the present moment through our dreaming them. Human desires for greater harmony, bountiful beauty, and more encompassing justice are the kernels of those things being born. The act of our dreaming reveals the dreams’ beginnings and connects this moment to the dreams becoming. It is possible to open ourselves to greater wholeness through experiencing our own longing for that wholeness. Hope is the feeling of experiencing the dream in the present. In this way, hope broadens our understanding of reality to include the power of our dreams as a force for and the beginning of those dreams becoming.

This month, I am hoping for connection in our community, for the ability to ground out busyness and instead prioritize relatedness, and for increased attention to beauty, love, and joy. I am also curious about what dreams are being seeded in this community right now, as the Board processes all your individual dreams into a shared vision of our First Church future.

What are you hoping for this month? What dreams might your hope be seeding right now? Can you feel the reality of those dreams in the present moment through your own longing for them? What role does mystery play in your ability to hope? How is mystery present in your experience of life?


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