Finding Hope and Joy Even Now

Monarch butterfly in cocoons
Close-up of a Monarch Butterfly still in its cocoon. Image licensed from Envato Elements.

How is it with your spirit? What is giving you hope?

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Even though we’ve had more than enough rain this spring and early summer, it feels appropriate for this July 4. I’ve never been overly patriotic (it’s a Gen X thing), though I often enjoyed Fourth of July celebrations as a kid – everything from parades, to family cookouts, and, of course, fireworks.

Given the political situation in this country (not to mention others), I don’t feel like a part is in order. The concerns I have for the upcoming election weigh heavily. And, of course, the more it rains here and the more I hear about intense heat waves elsewhere, the more I worry about the future of the planet.

Yes, there’s always something to worry about, and I don’t usually give in to it all. I can often find hope and reasons to be optimistic about humanity’s future. Yet, today, it’s hard for me to celebrate this country when the political situation is so precarious.

I doubt I’m the only one feeling this way, so I think now is a good time to check in. How is it with your spirit? What is giving you hope? Where have you experienced joy? Have you reached out to anyone who might need uplifting?

I’m also thinking that finding a way to acknowledge and celebrate God’s abundance today, and in the coming days, would be better than dwelling on the things that cannot be immediately changed.

Where have you encountered the Sacred? What has moved you to gratitude?

Personally, I’m excited to see where the Spirit will lead us this month. And it is not too late to suggest what other forms of worship you would like to try – renewal of baptismal vows, a healing service, vespers and snacks, potluck and spiritual conversations, or anything else.

I look forward to sharing this part of our spiritual journey with all of you.

About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

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6 thoughts on “Finding Hope and Joy Even Now”

  1. My spirit is heavy and not very hopeful. I just read a summary of Project 2025. With the recent Supreme Court decision being ethical is not a standard. Our leaders (and each of us) have to be moral.

    “We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.” Kevin Roberts, the president of the Heritage Foundation

    What do I need to do as a follower of Jesus?

    My spirit is heavy. (Feel free to take this down if it is too political.)

    Reply
    • Usually when things in the world feel too heavy I intentionally take a small action related to the issue. Example: Re Ukraine – I can make another donation to White Stork; re Haitian gangs – I send a note of encouragement and a donation to Second Mile Haiti; re marginalization of seniors living in poverty – I volunteer, etc. But what can we do about recent Supreme Court Rulings????????

      Reply
    • Sandy, I am with you. The current political situation is horrid. Following Jesus in this climate means making it abundantly clear that we do not agree with the public “voice” of Christianity right now. We try to figure out what we can do to if the election takes a right turn.

      Reply
  2. Cindy,
    This is a great strategy to deal with some of the major issues in the world. I don’t know what we can do about the recent rulings. Maybe just make our views clear when opportunities arise?

    Reply
  3. Rachael, you have what I call Fierce Joy. Thank you for bringing us words of confrontation and encouragement. Time for church is one of my highest priorities. Deepest thanks. Anita

    Reply

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