Day 21: Saturday in the Third Week of Lent
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
There are two kinds of hope. They sometimes hold hands, but they differ. One is the ordinary everyday hope that looks for some kindness, some success, some adventure, some positive turn to life. We hope the Thanksgiving turkey turns out right. We hope the Thanksgiving dinner goes peaceably. We hope we can find the right Christmas presents to give. We hope they arrive in time. We hope the traffic won’t be bad on the way home. We hope our team will play well in March Madness.
There is nothing wrong with such hopes, but this is not the nature of Biblical hope. Biblical hope has eyes set on the horizon. It is born of the exodus and empty tomb and looks to the triumph of grace in us and in the world. These sorrows will not endure. These tears will be wiped away. This grace will abide. This mercy reign. It is not a hope that things will be better in heaven; it is the assurance that God is working on earth to bring God’s new creation. And since mercy will triumph in the end, I can live mercy now. Since compassion will rule the earth, I can live compassion now.
And since love is our destiny, since the arc of the universe bends toward justice, the sting of injustice loses its fearful power. It is temporary. It is defeated. It will not endure. So, too, shame and guilt. So, too, cruelty and neglect. So, too, hate and violence. So, too, war and poverty. This hope rises above our sorrows. This hope gives strength and courage to live a daring compassion. This hope lets us look death in the eyes and not blink. The grave is empty.
This is a different joy and peace. This is a hope that overflows. It cascades down and energizes ordinary hope. This hope does not disappoint. This hope bears us forward. This hope empowers. This hope abounds.
in the waters of baptism you anointed us with your Holy Spirit.
Stir up within us your Spirit
and lead us this day in paths that are holy and true.
– A prayer for the third week of Lent
(For the reflection on this week’s theme: “Baptism & the Holy Spirit”)