I have been reading recently a wonderful little book entitled Letters to a Young Doubter, by Rev. William Sloane Coffin, social justice activist and progressive religious thinker in the 1960s. This week, I came across a little quote that has been on my mind in light of recent events in our country and in the world. Calvinists are animated by hope…Hope reflects the state of your soul rather than the circumstances surrounding your days. Praise God and your soul gets stronger.” In the midst of darkness, turmoil, and despair in our lives, as Christians we are called to cling to hope. The Psalmist tells us, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of dark, I shall fear no evil. For you are with me. Your rod and your staff comfort me.” We live with the Good news that God is with us. The scripture brings us comfort that our Lord knows his own flock. We go through the journey of life with the joyful truth, that God guides us on our paths supporting us through the treacherous roads. In the midst of fear, we have hope because of the glorious act of Christ. Suffering is not the final word about our human condition. God is with us in suffering and is able to inspirit us with faith, hope and courage, even in our darkest hour. Despite the challenges that might arise in our future, our Good Shepherd gently uses His staff to guide us and his rod to protect us. As we await Christ coming again, may we our souls be strong in hope, praising God in our worship, serving God, in our daily activities and loving God by loving our neighbors.