Dr. Joseph Rudolph, Upper School Dean of Faculty, addressed the JHCA community during Monday’s opening ceremony. He spoke about the theological virtue of hope through a few different analogies.
First, Dr. Rudolph reminded students of the hope that they often have in their sports teams, even when they are losing. If Tom Brady is on your team, your chances of winning are high, so you have a real hope in winning. “For Christians, God himself provides this hope. Jesus isn't just any old hero: he is the second person of the Holy Trinity, God himself, who came to save us,” he said. Christians can have hope even in peril because of who we have hope in.
In his second analogy, Dr. Rudolph asked students to imagine asking someone to rescue them from a difficult situation. Whether we need someone to fix our car, treat our illness, or give us directions, we trust the person with the experience to help us. He said, “It is of the utmost comfort that the God who saves us was ‘like us in all things but sin.’ For we have, the Apostle Paul says, in his letter to the Hebrews, ‘not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.’”
Dr. Rudolph concluded that Christian hope rests on the assurance that suffering has meaning and that our human form has divine dignity. “We have this confidence because of Jesus, who was fully God and fully human. He suffered the worst physical pain, the worst betrayal, and the worst abandonment. Whatever awful things a human can experience, God is there, not superficially, but in the unreserved gift of himself by which he blesses and redeems our broken, messy, sinful human condition.” We can have hope in God because of who He is and what He has done for us.
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