The promise of hope

I have struggled over the past few days to articulate what I am thinking and feeling. It’s complex and confusing and quite frankly, overwhelming.

I have always been able to relate to the loss and despair of Easter Saturday. That sort of emptiness, shock and despair. There is something so encouraging to me about the fact that there is this pause in the Christian calendar in which everything doesn’t have to be well. We are actively encouraged to look at what is wrong in the world, in us, to grieve and despair. It is right to reflect on how broken the world is, to see the pain and darkness and to mourn it. The world is not perfect just because we believe in Jesus. There is still darkness. The victory is won, but we are still living with the contrast of what is won, what is possible and what we will not fully see until Jesus returns.

I have found this mourning of Easter Saturday comforting. I find hope harder. I think I am actually a born optimist, but I have this depression that is determined to fear the worst. I believe in hope for others, but I struggle to take it for myself.

Easter Saturday is something I am comfortable with. Sunday though, I have always found harder. I have thought and reflected on what it must have been to take not only my guilt and shame, but that of the whole world onto yourself and accept it all as your own. I have felt liberated by the fact that this was done for me. I am grateful for what Easter Sunday means. However, I have never felt particularly celebratory on the day itself.

This morning though, it felt different. I think it is the contrast of celebrating Easter in the midst of an unprecedented situation that the whole world is experiencing together. It is the immediacy of feeling I should be celebrating that has often jarred with me, but today I am finding that it is the promise of what hope offers that is giving me joy. I feel genuinely optimistic.

Faith, by it’s very nature is not tangible. It is something based on what you cannot see, prove or, often, even explain. The idea of celebrating that which is both true now but also not yet fully accessible has always been a struggle. This year though, I find that it is the presence of communal struggle that has made the promise of hope that Easter offers to be somehow more real.

So, today, I find myself resting in the hope promised by Jesus death and resurrection. I find hope in the reality, that all darkness is, has been and will be defeated by his victory over death. I find hope in the fact that despair, shock and fear was overridden on that first Easter, by the presence of Jesus. Most of all though, I find hope in the fact that his presence is something that can still be found to overcome the despair that can so easily overwhelm.

The promise of hope, is something we can cling onto when hope itself seems out of reach. The resurrection is this promise. That no matter what, hope is something we can eternally access, because the victory is won. Christ is Risen and Christ will come again.

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