For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
I received an email yesterday morning. Well, actually, between the more than half-dozen email accounts I have to use in order to keep up with many assets of my daily responsibilities I received 238 in total, but one stood out.
This email happened to come from my sister. She had sent me an email regarding former Chief Justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court Roy Moore. Justice Moore’s career seems to have been one of exemplary service. Having graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, Moore first served in several posts as a military police officer, including Fort Benning, Georgia, and Illesheim, Germany before being sent to South Vietnam. Moore left the United States Army as a captain in 1974, and was admitted to the University of Alabama School of Law in Tuscaloosa that same year. He graduated in 1977 with a Juris Doctor degree.
Moore spent the majority of his life in public service of one form or another. However, what justice Moore is best known for is his firm refusal to remove a plaque that contained the Ten Commandments from his courtroom walls. After receiving some initial complaints, Justice Moore decided to take action. Rather than remove the plaque from his courtroom, he commissioned a 5,280 lb monument carved in black granite to be placed in the rotunda of the Alabama State Supreme Court. During the unveiling ceremony Justice Moore said, “Today a cry has gone out across our land for the acknowledgment of that God upon whom this nation and our laws were founded….May this day mark the restoration of the moral foundation of law to our people and the return to the knowledge of God in our land.”
For his efforts, on October 30, 2001, the ACLU of Alabama, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Southern Poverty Law Center were among groups which filed suit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, asking that the monument be removed because it “sends a message to all who enter the State Judicial Building that the government encourages and endorses the practice of religion in general and Judeo-Christianity in particular.”
In outright defiance of [authors note: unlawful] rulings from Federal Courts and Judges, Justice Moore refused to remove the monument. Moore argued that he would not remove the monument, as doing so would violate his oath of office. He stated:
“[The monument] serves to remind the Appellate Courts and judges of the Circuit and District Court of this State and members of the bar who appear before them, as well as the people of Alabama who visit the Alabama Judicial Building, of the truth stated in the Preamble to the Alabama Constitution that in order to establish justice we must invoke ‘the favor and guidance of almighty God.”
Justice Moore was right in what he said, and right in taking his stand for truth and Christianity. We are living in a time when Romans chapter 1:18-20 has come to pass; “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
While I look about at the world we live in, my heart has no doubt that we live in the last days. For mankind to live in such a state of depravity and to not just call it good, but to flaunt it in the faces of Christians calling us “fundamentalists” or “radicals” because of our conservative biblical Christian values is all the proof we need.
So how do we live in the face of this turning tide of hedonism? With hope eternal.
In my exchange with my sister she responded to me with just one simple sentence. “Hope reigns eternal.” How right she is Hope does reign eternal. We have seen hopes become reality in the lives of people we felt had little chance at all to come to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. I sit here at this desk typing this message today as a prime example of that. I may not be able to call myself the Chief of all Sinners like the Apostle Paul did, but I sure was a decorated Lieutenant rising in the ranks of those opposed to God.
We do not know what the future holds for this nation, or for your neighbor or loved one. But life without hope is a life already lost. Justice Moore lives with a hope that he cannot see. We should be doing the same. Living a peaceful life having all your hopes and dreams fulfilled is a wonderful thing. But as a Christian, is that reality ever capable of being met? I ask that question because as a Christian we are required to live an others centered life. If others are suffering, we should be sharing in that burden. If our neighbors are poor, we should be seeking to lift those people out of poverty, supply jobs, skills and opportunity for growth. If our friends and family are lost, eternally dead in their human tents, separated from God, we should not rest until we have given our last full measure in an attempt to show them Jesus. Hope can we do this? By living in hope of things we cannot yet see, but yearn for with all of our sacred being.
Hope truly does reign eternal. Thanks Deb for the reminder.