The Original Optimist Club

Most of us grew up hearing about the various civic service organizations of our American communities. Jaycees, Lions, Rotary, and others were all familiar names on signage at the entrance to many of the towns we grew up in. Often, we were not fully certain what these groups did, but they were a part of the fabric of our lives and somehow a reassuring part of the normal order. One of the groups that I was always fascinated with was the “Optimists” civic group.
I confess that I knew little about them, but what a great name. It suggested to me in early years a group of individuals who got together on a regular basis to share their optimism with one another. Could it be better than that? I suspect that there is more to it than that rather naive thought. I do however still imagine that in their choice of a name, they reflect a creedal commitment to a philosophical viewpoint. They are committed to approaching the issues of community from an optimistic stance. Someone may correct me on that, but that is somewhat beside the point. I really want to point to what I think was the original optimist club. 
The attitude of the early church was that Christ had provided for something wonderful as a response to the reality of life. Through Christ, redemption, reconciliation, forgiveness, and freedom were now a present reality for “Whosoever will”. This optimism radiated within every message shared by the Apostles. Peter offered the hope of salvation and the infilling of the Holy Spirit to anyone who wished it on the day of Pentecost.

Paul and Silas were so optimistic that they could sing hymns at midnight while chained in a jail cell. Paul could optimistically declare that “Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ.” He could also affirm that “Whatever may be the promises of God to us, in Jesus they already have their yes.” I am thinking that we could use a dose of that kind of optimism in this time when it seems that we are surrounded by so much negativity in our society.

What a gift to be optimistic when we are tempted to believe that everything is in some kind of mortal decline. Is it possible that in such a time as this, we may benefit from hearing the assurance of our faith once again that no matter what; our Lord will never “Leave us nor forsake us?” I suspect so. I encourage you to be of good cheer. God is faithful!

Be an Optimist!

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