Have we lost hope in hope?
At our Lent Course this year we’ve been using the film ‘The King’s Speech’ as the basis of our discussions. We had an interesting time last week thinking about hope.
We hope about all sorts of things – for the sun to shine tomorrow, for our favourite sports team to win, for a healthy life for ourselves and our families.
The trouble is, hope is expected to convey a broad range of meanings, from ‘what I’d like to happen’, to ‘what might happen’ and even to what is nothing more than ‘wishful thinking’.
And none of these meanings has anything to do with the hope of eternal life through trusting in Jesus Christ. This kind of hope is described by the hymn-writer Wendy Churchill as “a hope that is steadfast and certain, gone through the curtain and touching the throne” in the hymn Jesus is King.
If all we ever understand of hope is a vague sense of ‘maybe’, then it’s really hard to see how hope can ever be steadfast or certain.
A hymn writer from an earlier era talks of Christian hope like this:
All my hope on God is founded; he doth still my trust renew.
Me through change and chance he guideth, only good and only true.
God unknown, he alone calls my heart to be his own.
Where does your hope lie?
Is it in a god who might love you if you’re good enough or follow the rules to the letter?
Or a God who become a man, lived a life showing us what it is to be fully human and then died on a cross because he loves us?
The hope of Holy Week
And that’s why Holy Week and Easter are so important. We take time to remember together again the grounds for the Christian hope: the death and resurrection of the man Jesus Christ who chose to die that we might live in loving relationship with God for eternity. These are a matter of both fact and faith.
The Bible tells us of the events of Holy Week
* the expectant joy of the crowd on Palm Sunday
* the strange meal together on Maundy Thursday
* despair in the garden of Gethsemane
* the agony of watching Jesus die so cruelly on Good Friday
* the anguish of the women when Jesus’ body wasn’t in the tomb on Easter Day
* the pure joy once his friends experienced Jesus among them in the days that followed
We can choose to believe that this is what happened, and down the years many have done so from a place of scepticism, convinced by the evidence of not only the stories themselves but by lives lived differently because of hope in what the Bible records.
Holy Week is intended to be emotionally draining as we travel along with Jesus and his followers into the exuberant arrival into Jerusalem; on to the depths of despair at Golgotha and the burial; on the third day we can be caught up in the pure joy of his friends in the upper room, and then on to the mountain top where Jesus ascends to heaven leaving them perplexed.
We have the opportunity to engage afresh with these events through special services – palm crosses for Palm Sunday, the celebration of Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday, the Walk of Witness and the Three Hours at the Cross, followed by the joy of celebrating our risen Lord on Easter Sunday.
Do take the time to journey with us at St. Mary’s with Holy Apostles this Holy Week and Easter. Come along to the meditative services to reflect on all Jesus has done for us, join us as we share bread and wine as he commanded us to. Spend time at the foot of the cross remembering the pain he endured for us, and rejoice on Easter Day that death could not hold him, that the victory was won.
May you and all you love have a blessed Holy Week and Easter