I wonder what hope looks like for you?
Perhaps you see it in the bluebells beginning to pop up, or maybe when you get some good news pop up on your phone, for a change?
I’d hazard a guess that most of us wouldn’t expect our hope to come through tears and scars? We tend to think that hope comes from good things – right?
But when I look to scripture, I see hope spring in the unlikeliest of circumstances to the unlikeliest people.
It comes in the early morning tears of Mary Magdalene as she goes to tend to Jesus’ body and finds an empty tomb and her beloved Lord.
It comes as Thomas asks to press his hands into the place when Jesus’ body was scarred from crucifixion and is not turned away.
It comes as Jesus walks a while with two heartbroken travellers on the road to Emmaus who cried “we had hoped” and saw their hope born afresh as Jesus broke bread with them.
The hope Jesus brings did not come in the way any one expected it that first Easter – and so often the same is true today.
I see hope when we gather at the communion table to eat the bread and drink the wine that remembers Jesus’ sacrifice – where his brokenness leads to our healing – because through it his grace is available to all.
Our hope does not depend on where we come from, or what we do, but on the glorious interruption of God’s grace in our lives that stretches further than we could ever imagine to encompass those so often left out.
And as we set our faces towards Calvary this week; we cannot rush through the darkness to get to the dawn of Easter Sunday. Our hope begins here and now as we walk slowly; lingering as we retell the stories of Jesus clearing the temples of all that gets in the way of true worship, is anointed with perfume and tears, as his blood and sweat mingle in the garden and as he takes his last breath. Our hope is not even quenched by the silence of Holy Saturday, when the altars are stripped bare – because it is a reminder that we are never abandoned to despair alone.
So let us not avert our gaze from Jesus this week, even when he walks the paths we’d like to avoid, but fix our eyes on him – the author and perfecter of our faith who is with us always, to the very end of the age.