We Live in Hope

Weekly Reflection, Sunday, March 25, 2018

By: Bob Hetherington

Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph. His new understanding of how God’s loving presence works in the world has taken hold. His followers came to Jerusalem to celebrate the victory of their mission and to work for the transformation of the Jewish system of temple worship.

What began with so much hope and promise ended very badly: there was the confrontation with the money changers in the temple; the decision on the part of the Jewish establishment that this rabble rouser from the country had to die; the arrest of Jesus; Jesus being passed back and forth between Pilate and Harod, Harod and Pilate. Finally, Pilate’s decision to let Jesus die because the Jewish leaders were so adamant about it.

On that first Good Friday, Jesus hung upon the cross and there he died. The mission was over. What had begun with such hope and promise had come to nothing. Everything the disciples hoped and believed about Jesus died on that cross. The forces of darkness had won the day. The world had descended into meaninglessness and despair. On Good Friday we keep watch at the foot of the cross and watch an innocent man die.

Palm Sunday ushers in Holy Week. Everything slows down as we move toward the cross on Good Friday. We bring all our questions about how a loving God could let such a terrible thing happen. It is time to examine our own doubts and fears about life. Where is God when we need God most? Sometimes it feels like we are surrounded by silence.

The Lenten journey relentlessly brings us to the foot of the cross. It is hard to be there. We would rather be anywhere else. So, we wait. Is this the way life ends?

Of course, as Christian people we know the story does not end here. God’s greatest miracle still lies ahead. However, we cannot understand the power of God’s transforming presence unless we keep watch at the foot of the cross.

Among the religions of the world, Christianity has the deepest understanding of suffering. God gave his son to die on the cross so the whole world would know about the depth and power of God’s transforming love. Every depth of human suffering can be reached by our God.

We live in hope.