Disciples News Service

Advent Hope: Sandhya Rani Jha on being human

Submitted by Chalice Press

In this Advent season, looking for hope in the darkness can seem a daunting task.

Hearing from those whose work involves building and sustaining hope for others can offer light to the weary. Sandhya Rani Jha, a Disciples pastor and veteran community activist knows a thing or two about hope.

“I’m a big picture, statistics, systemic thinker,” Jha says about holding onto hope. “But that can also become overwhelming: the number of people facing injustice can feel insurmountable. I’m writing this on a rainy day in downtown Oakland. A homeless person just walked into Starbucks and the people next to me and I made room for them to rest their weary feet at the table we were sharing. A woman standing near me asked if they wanted a coffee and bought them one.”

“A homeless woman came in and sat down with me and chatted for a while, and then the two of them traded advice on cheap footwear that doesn’t rub. Then she showed them a video from her phone of when a rat jumped into her lap this morning, and offered them some leftover Halloween candy from her backpack.”

“I could probably get depressed about that scene, but that’s people being human, being in relationship even for a moment.”

“If that is who humans can be, what can’t we do when we set our sights on actually making the world better, with a few of the right tools?”

Jha explores these stories and more in her new book from Chalice Press, Transforming Communities: How People Like You are Healing their NeighborhoodsRead Chalice Press’s full interview with Sandhya Jha.