Written by Talitha Arnold
"Put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation." - I Thessalonians 5:1-11
"Hope is the thing with feathers," wrote Emily Dickinson, "that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all."
"Hope is a muscle" wrote the author of a book about a girls basketball team.
Hope is a helmet, said the Apostle Paul.
Always the realist, Paul encouraged the early Christians of Thessalonica to put on "a helmet of hope of salvation." It's a great metaphor. Hope is often under siege, whether in Paul's time or ours. One glance at the daily news makes hope seem naive and those who hold hope appear foolish. We often need the protection a helmet affords to keep hope alive.
A good friend who is dean of a state college needs a helmet of hope when her programs are cut to the bone. The young parishioner putting his college plans on hold due to economics could use a helmet of hope. The father hugging his Marine daughter as she heads overseas needs such a helmet. In our own lives, when like Paul we "do not do the good we want, but the evil we do not want," we need God's helmet of hope.
Paul says it is the "hope of salvation." Yes, it's the saving grace of Jesus Christ, but it's also the hope that saves us from despair and discouragement, be it about our world or ourselves.
So put on the helmet of hope today. You'll need God's hard hat for the hard knocks of life.
Clothe us in your hope, faith and love, O God, this day and every day. Amen.