Hope compromises its position. This may surprise you, if you believe that for hope to be worth having it must be uncompromising. Hope does not compromise on the grounds that doing so is the quickest way to secure a place we are happy to settle for, accepting a lesser evil that gives our conscience room to wriggle, if somewhat uncomfortably. Rather, hope is happy to compromise its position because the one who hopes recognises that we do not have a monopoly on the best vision for the best future. Hope recognises that we need to listen to one another, to our different hopes, and fears; and that we need to lay down our life for the lives of others. That together, as we lay down our lives for the other, a future is negotiated into being which is more glorious than any given contributor could imagine. The one who truly hopes is secure enough to not be defensive, not demand their rights be upheld.
This is why God listens to humans, and is willing to change his plans in order to work with ours.
Indeed, this compromising hope is why God became human: and in so choosing, took on a changed nature, not temporarily but for eternity. Not because he had to, not because he had no choice; nor even simply to restore what was lost: but because the transformative reconciliation of God and humanity centred in Jesus negotiates into being a completion that is more glorious than the beginning ever was.
And this is also why the entrenched debates within the Church at the present time, regarding women and authority, and regarding human sexuality, are so tragic: polarised, without hope-full compromise...for now. As John the Baptist calls out to each one of us, Undergo a change of heart and mind, for the arrival of the King is drawing close...
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