We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

The Power of Indestructible Hope

Where does hope come from ? What is our source of hope ?This is a commentary on Psalm 4 specifically verses 6-8 by Trinity Episcopal NY which is the appointed Psalm for Sun, April 14. There are some additions afterward by Pope Benedict.

Psalm 4 is an individual lament (or perhaps better a plea for deliverance), possibly due failure of crops as the result of some natural calamity—perhaps drought. By this point in the psalm the writer has moved from critique to a trust in God. The psalmist’s confidence in God is demonstrated by the ability to lie down and go to sleep peacefully even in the face of difficulty. God is the source of the writer’s sense of security.

From the Psalm for April 14

“Many are saying, ‘Oh, that we might see better times!’ Lift up the light of your countenance upon us, O Lord. You have put gladness in my heart, more than when grain and wine and oil increase. I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep; for only you, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” — Psalm 4:6–8

Commentary by Trinity Episcopal, NY

The Psalm for this Sunday gets right to the point: “Many are saying, ‘Oh, that we might see better times!’”

“What a familiar refrain! In these complicated times, when division and disunity are rampant, this little phrase seems to be on everyone’s lips. From pulpits to pews, even people of faith decry our current situation — a world where conflict raises its head in every corner of our community and personal lives.

“In such a climate, it might be cold comfort to point out that the Psalmist was writing thousands of years ago, that the people who lived then carried the same concerns in their hearts as we do. They, too, looked at their world and saw only bad news. They, too, longed for better times.

“But for them, and for us, the Psalmist ultimately offers a word of hope. Asking for God’s face to shine upon God’s people, the ancient poet places ultimate trust in God’s providence and will. “You have put gladness in my heart, more than when grain and wine and oil increase,” they sing. In other words, the Psalmist claims their contentment and joy do not depend on external circumstances.

“In both seasons of want and seasons of overabundance, they know with whom they belong. They can rejoice even in a time of depletion. The poet “lies down in peace,” not because the world is a safe place, but because they “dwell” and rest in God. Their practice of hope is internally rooted, under the tenderness of God’s loving, light-filled gaze.

“Trusting in God from the inside out is not a call to ignore the brutalities or suffering around us. On the contrary, secure in God’s love, Christians are called to make the world more secure for everyone. In doing so, we reenact God’s posture of peace-bringing. We learn to create “better times,” not simply as a wish for ourselves and for those with whom we agree, but for all people.

“Because God has provided for us beyond our fears, we must build for others a world in which fear does not have the last say. In the quiet, steady confidence of our convictions — that God is indeed working out all things for our good — we provide witness to an indestructible hope, the kind of hope that does not bow itself to terror. This is Easter hope: a holy acceptance that even death cannot prevail.”

Hope lies with you.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote in 2007, “The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life” These words remind us that hope is not a fleeting emotion, much less an attitude that fades when life is hard, but a resilient stance toward life marked by trust, confidence and perseverance.

“Hope empowers us to live differently because a Christian understanding of hope is rooted in the unshakable conviction that God loves us and wants our good, a fact memorably exclaimed by Paul’s declaration in Romans: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” ( 8:31). To live with hope is to take those words to heart and to allow that knowledge to change our lives in creative and surprising ways.

Other Thoughts

Paul Wadell wrote in “America: The Jesuit Review”. At the same time, “Hope frees us from the intolerable burden of thinking that so much depends on us that we become oblivious to the blessings around us, and especially to how each day God calls us out of ourselves in order to draw others more fully to life through our kindness and goodness. For Christians, hope is a new and abundantly promising way of life characterized by joy and thanksgiving, service and generosity, hospitality and celebration and even the wonderful freedom to fail.”