Bake & Brew Cafe at Lucky Court, and Hope and Faith
After a wedding at Holy Grace Presbyterian Church on Upper East Coast Road, we drove round the old neighbourhood gawking at the retro architecture of houses (with their mature gardens) and town planning from another era (with shady trees, adequate “open spaces” and playgrounds) and little Muslim cemetery* and came upon Bake & Brew Cafe (facebook. 71 Lucky Heights, Lucky Court). Old school premises, white IKEA furniture. Quiet enough for a book and a pot of tea, convenient enough for neighbourhood kids to hang out with waffles and ice-cream.
Menu – breakfast, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, salads. “Flat White”. “Brownie with ice-cream”.
Managed to finish David Jackman’s “Teaching Christian Hope” before heading west just in time to farewell the lads. Jackman points out that the presenting symptoms in many congregations and individual Christians today is spiritual lethargy and depression. Committed older Christians, having served faithfully for years, feel they have been running on empty for years, and decide that they have had enough and that it is time someone else does the work. He identifies the underlying problem as the lack of hope that no amount of cajoling, beating-up, or alternatively, entertainment and indulging personal whims and fancies will get anywhere near dealing.
What does the Christian hope for?
And God made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfilment – to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10)
“…the previously hidden secret of God’s inscrutable will has now been revealed. The whole subsequent history of the coming of the Lord Jesus and the progress of the gospel leads up to this great climax. This is the focus which is dominant all the way through human history and to which climax God is irresistibly working everything together – that everything in all creation will be brought in unity under one head, even Christ.”
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him…he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ… In him we have redemption through his blood (Ephesians 1:3-5,7)
“…Christ through whom God chose and predestined us to be adopted as his children, the Christ in whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sin – who is defined by his work on the cross and by his glorious resurrection – that Christ is the ultimate purpose and focus of God’s plan for the whole universe…wherever there are hostile powers ranged against God, whether they are Satan and his hordes, or rebellious human beings under his influence, all of those powers will ultimately come under one head, even Christ. They will be forced to submit to Christ and his eternal rule…”
And with Christ’s rule comes the restoration of all things – our relationship with God completely restored and so all relationships restored to the perfection that no counselling strategies or organisations for the equality of mankind could ever attain, and with this, the restoration of the rest of creation – a world that will be made new, not subject to death or decay or any sort of environmental degradation.
How does the Christian know his hope is certain?
Obviously, it is pointless hoping for something that one has no expectation of getting, and worse, living one’s precious life in the light of such a baseless hope.
The Christian’s hope stems from his faith in God, which itself isn’t blind or baseless. Faith in God is firstly faith in his character – that he is trustworthy and has done (and therefore, will do) everything he says. This God has proved through his historical dealings with the people of Israel through the centuries (as recorded in the Old Testament). So faith in God also means faith in his promises for the future. Hope, then, is merely utterly expecting that his promises of these things that we cannot yet see will be fulfilled some time in the future because (and this is where hope and faith and inextricably intertwined) God has been trustworthy in the past.
And because of this hope, we therefore live in a certain way: telling people about this faith and this hope, realising that our failure to perfect in the here and now does not negate the truth of the Bible (since God only promises true perfection in the future), understanding that while we will work for the good of society and the world, that only by being part of God’s people will any one have any hope of participating in any true restoration etc.
Snapshots Along the Way