Long before you were born, Langston Hughes wrote “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” My prayer for you today is that you will always live with a hope that refuses to be calcified by challenges or smothered by suffering. I pray that your faith in Jesus Christ will light the candle of your heart in a dark world that defers hopes and crushes dreams.
Tomorrow, live with a hope not hardened by hatred. Hate never wins.
If hope is all you have, it will help you endure the best and worse of time. Hope will outlast recessions, depressions and human failings. It will stand against disappointments. It has given oppressed people everywhere the inspiration to overcome social and political incarceration.
Hope may be deferred but it’s work is never defeated. It takes courage and creativity to live in the presence of God, not trivialize the gospel, take God’s promises for granted or diminish the personhood of another human. It is the why and how we’ve been able to keep believing in better days and brighter futures.
Tomorrow, I just wanted you to know that I still have hope that you will grow up in a world that respects your personhood, gender, heritage and race.
I still hope that our generation will be able to close the gap between the ideals of democracy and the praxis of it in this country.
I still hope that the actions of elected or appointed leaders contribute to the security and stability of our nation.
I still hope that our collective actions contribute to the well-being of others so that no one sees their child hungry, violated or abused, the differently-abled mocked or their parents humiliated in the sunset years of their lives.
I still hope that you will be able to pursue your dreams and develop your God-given talents and gifts; take advantage of opportunities offered and create others for yourselves and for someone else; engage in meaningful work, financially support yourselves and your families; enrich the lives of those around you, nurture positive relationships and demonstrate the love of God in real tangible ways.
I still have hope that you will grow up in a global community where by the grace of God you and your generation will become worthy collaborators of justice unceasingly in the halls of congress, the halls of justice, the school hall, lodge hall, the backroom or front office to end covert and overt racism, sexism and classism.
I still have hope that your generation will pierce the pettiness of prejudice with renewed passion to confront cultural fears and phobias.
I still have hope that you will not wilt or waver when confronted by the brutal indignities or rejection and human degradation.
I still have hope that you will grow up to widen your circles of concern to include the impoverished, the oppressed, the left out and kept out.
I still have hope that you will rise up to lead a new generation of activists.
I still have hope that you will sharpen your intellect to research the issues of the day, know the law and act to change unjust laws.
I still have hope that our nation will not continue to ignore the toxic brew of contaminates in our rivers, streams and drinking water. I still have hope that we will no longer ignore the fact that who has water, who has a right to water and who gets water will be the new civil rights issue of the day!
I still have hope that the eyes of the world will open to the moral issues of creation care, climate change and environmental justice.
I still have hope that today and always you will have equal opportunity and access to education, housing, employment and a living wage.
I still have hope that by faith thru grace you will be saved, because there is no other name under heaven which you will be saved.
I still have hope because as the hymn writer sing, My hope is built on nothingness than Jesus blood and His righteousness I dare not do anything less.
Tomorrow, hope thou in God today!
Now let’s work this hope into a reality!
2017, here we come!
Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie
*I originally wrote this letter to my not-yet three year old granddaughter praying one day when she is old enough, she will read it in a world changed for the better.