Hope finds way to grow

Unseen peace requires commitment, 'esperanza'

Jan 2, 2017 by

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The English language does a disservice to the word “hope.” It’s too short, too glib. Lips are finished pronouncing it almost before the sound establishes a presence.

Spanish takes a different approach. Esperanza rolls around in the mouth and on the page. It takes commitment for the tongue to start and finish the tour of sounds and ideas.

In much the same way, the concept of esperanza takes similar commitment in a country defined by natural disasters, gang violence, poverty, migration and corrupt government.

Hope is essential for Honduran Mennonites when every gas station, truck stop, fast food restaurant and shop entrance features security guards wielding shotguns or automatic rifles.

Hope is one of the only things that can ooze through or fly over the towering fences, topped by concertina wire and electrified wire, that surround urban congregations like those in San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba.

Miracles in the Bible emerged when hope was sparked. The widow somehow found flour in her meager supply when the prophet Elijah expressed hope that it would be there (1 Kings 17:7-16). The same is true today.

The homicide rate, extreme income disparity and broken education system are all obvious inspiration for the thousands of migrants who spell hope E-s-t-a-d-o-s U-n-i-d-o-s. But there are others who stay, like the many brave Mennonite pastors and church members who place their hope not in the barrel of a gun but the Prince of Peace.

“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?” (Rom. 8:24). Our esperanza is in peace still unseen.

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