The Cord of Hope
Last week, as I started my second term and second intensive week at Divinity School, musings about faith were floating around my head. What is faith, 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺? What's the difference between various flavors and brands? And how did early Christians, two millennia ago, characterize it? (And, did I have "enough faith" to help me through the challenging, kind-of-scary week ahead of me?) Then, in the first reading of my new Church History class, as I dove into the world of martyrs and saints, these lovely words by Ignatius of Antioch--on his way to Rome where he would likely be killed for his faith--jumped off the page at me: Marie Spartali Stillman's 'Love's Messenger' (1855,delartmuseum)
"𝗙𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝗻𝗱." Seven simple words to make sense of it all--the complicated history, the even more complicated creeds, and the timeless searching and seeking. I think Saint Ignatius had figured things out: true faith moves us toward love. Love is both path and destination. And if we begin with the end in mind, it's usually easier to get there. --MWB
Ignatius of Antioch, 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘓𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘐𝘨𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘶𝘴, 𝘉𝘪𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘱 𝘰𝘧 𝘈𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘤𝘩, 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘌𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘢𝘯𝘴.]
Original Word: תִּקְוָה
Part of Speech: Noun Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (tik-vaw')
I. [תִּקְוָה] noun femininecord (compare √ at the beginning); — construct תִּקְוַת חוּט) הַשָּׁנִיJoshua 2:18,21.
1 hope, Jeremiah 31:17; Lamentations 3:29; Job 5:16; Job 7:6; Job 11:18,20; Job 14:7,19; Job 17:15a Job 19:10; Psalm 62:6; Proverbs 19:18; Proverbs 26:12; Proverbs 29:20; Ruth 1:12; ׳מֶּתַח ת Hosea 2:17; ׳אֲסִירֵי הַתּ Zechariah 9:12 (i.e. with hope of deliverance).
3 things hoped for, outcome, Ezekiel 19:5; Ezekiel 37:11; Job 6:8; Job 8:13; Job 17:15b (but read טוֺבָתִי ᵐ5 Me Bi Siegf Beer Bu Du), Job 27:8; Psalm 9:19; Proverbs 10:28; Proverbs 11:7,23; Proverbs 23:18; Proverbs 24:14 (strike out Toy as gloss); ׳אַחֲרִית וְת Jeremiah 29:11 (i.e. by hendyadis, the hoped-for future).
To live without Hope is to Cease to live. Fyodor Dostoevsky
Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all.
Ether 12:4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.
“[U]ntil the day when God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words,—'Wait and hope. '”
Alexander Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo
A Noiseless Patient Spider
BY WALT WHITMAN
A noiseless patient spider, I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated, Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding, It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself, Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them. And you O my soul where you stand, Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space, Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them, Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold, Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.