Tag Archives: Luke 9:23

Whose hope?

Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the poor.’ Disciples of Jesus are armed in an odd fashion: we don’t take up weapons, but daily take up the cross.

Therefore, it makes sense that Christian hope is not for those who entertain high hopes in this world. Here’s a quotation that captures this powerfully:

The hope about which it [the Bible] speaks is valid for the hopeless and not for the optimists. It is valid for the poor and not for the rich. It is valid for the downtrodden and the insulted so that they will learn to walk uprightly, and all this as it will be in heaven, so already here on this earth. As the book of the promises of God, the Bible … points beyond itself into the future which does not yet fill our present.

(Jürgen Moltmann, quoted in New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology.)




I started a sermon talking about YOLO, one of those trendy abbreviations perfectly suited to electronic communication.

YOLO: you only live once. That’s the simple meaning, the set of words that match each letter. But, of course, the saying has more than mere words. YOLO arrives with a feel, an attitude, and an implicit spur to action.

And that spur is towards folly. “I decided to jump, because, you know, #YOLO.” “Yeah, maybe that was dumb, but #YOLO.”

As I said in the sermon, the reality of only one life is a strange excuse for activity likely to end life early.

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

So I suggest an alternative, an alternative direct from Jesus’ upside-down invitation into true life. He said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” To follow Jesus – which is life itself! – is to accept the invitation to die.

My alternative: YODO, you only die once.

Since we only die once, make it a good death. Make it a real death, death to self. Make it a worthwhile death, from following Jesus not following the crowd.

Will this catch on as the latest hashtag? Of course not! But I’m not worried, because, like, #YODO.