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About this issue:
Stretching our hands toward hope
By Rachel Lapp, Bulletin Editor

Rachel Lapp photo
If you set your heart aright,
you will stretch out your hands toward God.
If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away,
and let not wickedness dwell in your tents.
Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish;
you will be secure, and will not fear.
You will forget your misery;
you will remember it as waters that have passed away.
And your life will be brighter than the noonday;
its darkness will be like the morning.
And you will have confidence,
because there is hope …

Job 11:13-18

If there were no despair, would there be hope? If there were only anguish, would we be able to experience jubilation? If life were not finite, would we understand its preciousness and value?

Pulitzer Prize winner Studs Terkel was recently interviewed on National Public Radio’s "Morning Edition"about his latest book, Will the Circle Be Unbroken? Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith. Terkel said that this collection of interviews "is the most alive book” he has written. The myriad stories recorded are testimonies to the perspective that reflections on death can bring about pricelessness of life, and a vision for its betterment on earth. The topic of his research now? Hope – perhaps as a sequel?

Like the combination of grim realities and surprise celebrations of life Terkel relates, this holiday season brings with it a complicated jumble of feelings.

We can’t predict how political, cultural, economic and psychological landscapes will continue to shift, with many countries engaged in anti-terrorism efforts after the Sept. 11 attacks and others struggling with economic instability and ethnic conflict. There is little good news to be found when violence colors everyday life, when families are separated, when nations cannot resolve misunderstandings and prejudices without lives lost.

Yet the Advent season, a time of reflection and anticipation, arrives: joyous, familiar and festive. Candles light a celebration of the coming of the Lord into the world in the midst of darkness. With the birth of Christ comes hope for redemption. These paradoxes remind us of what it is to be fully alive.

In this issue of the Bulletin, explore with us the terrain of hope that asks questions, finds comfort and crosses biblical foundations to “ground zero.” In hearing from faculty and alumni, we find stories that resound with hopefulness through times of seeking through continued questions of faith and learning. We also invite you to join us in celebrating the hopefulness of the season that comes from the light of the world with our online Advent devotions at www.goshen.edu/devotions.

Therefore, since we are justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through him we have obtained access to this grace
in which we stand,
and we rejoice in our hope
of sharing the glory of God.

Romans 5:1-2

Rachel Lapp's signature

Return to December Bulletin contents
About this issue – Stretching our hands toward hope - Editor Rachel Lapp
The end is the beginning – “A contagion of hope”
- President Shirley H. Showalter
Finding hope in the cemetery
- Don Blosser, professor of Bible
'Last hope' brings new life (times three)
- Ryan Miller interviews Jenny Jenkins, assistant professor of Biology
Hope in the final act: It's our scene
- Alan '62 and Eleanor '57 Kreider
'God is still right beside me': A faith walk with MS
- Ryan Miller interviews Kim Kulp Birk '98

In search of hope
- Brian R. Hook '93
Alumni in New York City reflect on 9-11
- Mervin Horst '84, Malinda E. Berry '96

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