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9/11 Challenge: Live Your Hope.

“Allow hope to rise up within you.  And when it seems that hopefulness is the least appropriate response in this situation, let it rise up even more. Whisper your hope when you lie down at night; scream your hope when you wake in the morning. Live your hope as if it is the one and only thing that sustains you in this ravaged world.You will not be disappointed.” – Mark Palmer

Some things never change.  The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer.  Crime and the decline of moral values continue to threaten the fabric of society.  War looms.  Infighting among politicians seems to take infighting to another level.  The government struggles to find the right response in a season of deep economic recession and global unrest.  Unemployment hovers over 9%.  The stock market is on a strange roller coaster ride.  There are riots not just in third-world countries but in the places we vacation.
And as if that weren’t enough reason to feel anxious, we will soon honor the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and we will be reminded in the stories leading up to that day of the wars that have not yet been won and the terrors that have not yet been defeated.
How do we respond to this collective state of things?  In a season of overwhelming anxiety, what is the right posture?  Can the average person do anything to change the tide, to make a difference?
I believe the answer is yes.  I firmly believe that even in tough times, every act of hope makes a difference.  In that spirit, I want to offer a challenge to our community.  Call it a 9/11 challenge:  Live your hope.
On Sunday, September 11th, I challenge you to do one thing that represents your best ideals.  Rearrange your calendar if you have to, so you can give meaningful time to some intentional act of hope.  Go to church.  Exercise your faith in the power of love.  Volunteer in a soup kitchen.  Join a Bible study.  Do something nice for a stranger.  Pick up trash along a section of road near your home.  Join in a walk for a cause. Forgive someone.  Turn off your television, leave your house (take your kids with you!) and do something positive that reflects a better answer than the one foisted on us ten years ago.

I am challenging you to intentionally, actively live your hope.  It is the right response and the best defense an average citizen has against the things that threaten to tear at the fabric of our country.  We can’t fix everything, but we can fix something.  And maybe on one very important day of the year when people will be looking for signs of hope, we can offer some positive, practical sign that things are getting better.
After all, we are not victims.  We are people of hope.