Chasing Hope

June 12, 2022

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Romans 5:1-5

The young pueo had learned many things. He’d learned how to fly, and how to find his way home, and how to spot small creatures in the grasses. He was, in many ways, prepared to begin a life of his own.

But he didn’t know what hope was.

His mother talked about hope a lot. Or muttered about it a lot. “Do you think we’ll find mice out there today?” he’d ask, and she’d say, “Hope.” “Do you think it will be sunny and warm today?” he’d ask, and she’d say, “Hope.” “Do you think I’ll learn something new today?” he’d ask, and she’d say, “Hope.”

Sadly, one of the things that he hadn’t learned by the end of any day up to that point was what “Hope” meant.

So he went to ask grandmother, Tutu Pueo, his mother’s mother. He flew to the rock on which she’d perched and asked, “Tutu, what is hope?”

“Hasn’t your mother told you?” she asked, rather surprised.

“No,” he said. “She mutters ‘Hope,’ a lot, like when we set out to find dinner, or when I ask about what’s coming. But she never says what it is.”

Tutu laughed. “I’ll just have to teach you the way I taught her,” she said. “Come fly with me. Let’s chase Hope.”

Puzzled but willing, he followed grandmother into the sky. “You’ve got to chase Hope,” said Tutu over the rush of the air. “Yes, but what does Hope look like?” asked the grandson, but suddenly she shouted, “Look there! In the grasses!”

Down they pounced to where an unwary mouse had ventured out. They enjoyed their snack, but then he said, “That wasn’t Hope, was it? That was a mouse.”

“You’ve got to chase Hope,” said Tutu. “Come on.”

Once more they took to the air, but clouds were pouring through the gap between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. “Look! There’s Hope!” shouted Tutu and she poured on the speed, heading for the retreating sunshine. Before the rain began to fall they were circling again in the sun.

“That’s not Hope, is it?” said grandson. “Isn’t it just… sunshine?”

Tutu turned lazy circles. “You’ve got to chase Hope,” she called. “Have you learned anything?”

He thought about it. He thought about being hungry, and about chasing something to eat. He thought about wanting to be warm and dry, and chasing the gaps in the clouds. He thought about wanting to learn something, and…

“I’ve learned that you have to chase Hope,” he said. “It’s always somewhere out there ahead, isn’t it?”

Tutu nodded. “And when you catch it, it’s the thing you hoped for – and then Hope becomes the next thing you need or you want.”

When he went home, he found his mother waiting. “Did Tutu teach you anything?” she asked.

“She taught me to chase Hope,” he said. “Do you think I’ll learn something new tomorrow?”

She smiled a pueo smile and simply said, “Hope.”

by Eric Anderson

Watch the Recorded Story

The story as written does not match the story as told – I work from my memory of the text above, but not from the manuscript itself.

Photo of a pueo on Hawai’i Island by HarmonyonPlanetEarth – Pueo (Hawaiian Owl)|Saddle Rd | 2013-12-17 at 17-45-012 Uploaded by snowmanradio, CC BY 2.0,

Destroy the Wisdom of the Wise

Tuesday of Holy Week, March 30, 2021

“…But we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” – 1 Corinthians 1:23-25

We are practiced and proficient
at crucifying you, O Christ.

Before your squalls e’er cracked
the stable’s musty silence,
you suffered in your people’s

How many shall we name?
The Calvaries of Scripture?
Brickworks in Egypt. Assyrian spears.
Mendacious monarchs. False prophets.

The flames of Solomon’s temple.
The ceaselessly repeated prophets’ bark:
“The widows and the orphans
have been left to die.”

We are practiced and proficient
at crucifying you, O Christ.

The hands that drove the nails
into your flesh did so adeptly, trained
by other flinching, bleeding flesh,
and other hopeless moans.

Other hands were just as deft
to rob the poor and call it right,
to crush the power of women and
to burn the Second Temple, too.

For followers of Christ the faith
might mean exclusion from their home,
bereavement from their trade,
and yes, it might mean crucifixion.

We are practiced and proficient
at crucifying you, O Christ.

I’ve been accustomed to using nails
of race and gender privilege,
to seeing nails of emptied magazines
and nails of gender definition.

I’ve mourned and not prevented
nails of poverty and war and greed
from fixing you – your people – to
the crosses that adorn this world.

But never had I thought to see
that foolishness and folly would conspire
to claim the crown of wisdom and
to crucify a host in just a year.

We are practiced and proficient
at crucifying you, O Christ.

No wonder that you wept.

A poem/prayer based on 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year B, Tuesday of Holy Week.

The image is Vanitas Still Life by Cornelis Norbertus Gijsbrechts (17th century) –, Public Domain,

Wisdom’s Call

“Gate of Wisdom” by sculptor Ju Ming, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“From the heights I call; will you listen? No?
Beside the road I call; will you listen? No?

“By the crossroad I call; will you listen? No?
Beside the gate I call; will you listen? No?

“Then at the entrance to the portals I cry out:
‘Be wise! Learn! Love righteousness! Grow!’

“Will you listen?


Though she should delight
in God’s inhabited world:

Wisdom weeps.

A poem/prayer based on Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, the Revised Common Lectionary first reading for Year C, Trinity Sunday.

Photo of “Gate of Wisdom” by Chong Fat – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,