1    (1) God keeps his promises and gives us hope.
2          In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus
3          God kept his promises.
4          All that we can ever hope for
5              was present in Christ.
6          But the work of God in Christ is not over.
7          God calls us to hope for more than we have yet seen.
8          The hope God give us is ultimate confidence
9              that supports us when lesser hopes fail us.
10        In Christ God gives hope for a new heaven and earth,
11            certainty of victory over death,
12            assurance of mercy and judgment beyond death.
13        This hope gives us courage for the present struggle.

14    (2) All things will be renewed in Christ.
15        In Christ God gave us a glimpse of the new creation
16            he has already begun and will surely finish.

17        We do not know when the final day will come.
18        In our time we see only broken and scattered signs
19            that the renewal of all things is under way.
20        We do not yet see the end of cruelty and suffering
21            in the world, the church, or our own lives.
22        But we see Jesus as Lord.
23        As he stands at the center of our history,
24            we are confident he will stand at its end.
25        He will judge all people and nations.
26        Evil will be condemned
27            and rooted out of God's good creation.
28        There will be no more tears or pain.
29        All things will be made new.
30        The fellowship of human beings with God and each other
31            will be perfected.

32    (3) Death will be destroyed.
33        In the death of Jesus Christ
34        God's way in the world seemed finally defeated.
35        But death was no match for God.
36        The resurrection of Jesus was God's victory over death.

37        Death often seems to prove that life is not worth living,
38            that our best efforts and deepest affections go for nothing.
39        We do not yet see the end of death.
40        But Christ has been raised from the dead,
41            transformed and yet the same person.
42        In his resurrection is the promise of ours.
43        We are convinced that the life God wills for each of us
44            is stronger than the death that destroys us.
45        The glory of that life exceeds our imagination
46            but we know we shall be with Christ.
47        So we treat death as a broken power.
48        Its ultimate defeat is certain.
49        In the face of death we grieve.
50        Yet in hope we celebrate life.
51        No life ends so tragically
52            that its meaning and value are destroyed.
53        Nothing, not even death, can separate us
54            from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

55    (4) God's mercy and judgment await us all.
56        In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus
57        God has already demonstrated his judging and saving work.
58        We are warned that rejecting God's love
59            and not caring for others whom God loves
60            results in eternal separation from him and them.
61        Yet we are also told that God loves the whole world
62            and wills the salvation of all humankind in Christ.
63        We live in tension between God's warnings and promises.
64        Knowing the righteous judgment of God in Christ,
65            we urge all people to be reconciled to God,
66            not exempting ourselves from the warnings.
67        Constrained by God's love in Christ,
68            we have good hope for all people,
69            not exempting the most unlikely from the promises.
70        Judgment belongs to God and not to us.
71        We are sure that God's future for every person
72            will be both merciful and just.

73    (5) Hope in God gives us courage for the struggle.
74        The people of God have often misused God's promises
75            as excuses for doing nothing about present evils.
76        But in Christ the new world has already broken in
77            and the old can no longer be tolerated.

78       We know our efforts cannot bring in God's kingdom.
79        But hope plunges us into the struggle
80            for victories over evil that are possible now
81            in the world, the church, and our individual lives.
82        Hope gives us courage and energy
83            to contend against all opposition,
84            however invincible it may seem,
85            for the new world and the new humanity
86            that are surely coming.

87        Jesus is Lord!
88        He has been Lord from the beginning.
89        He will be Lord at the end.
90        Even now he is Lord.

91    *(6) Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.

*Instead of saying this line, the congregation may wish to sing a version of the Gloria.

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