Faith, hope and grief (a post for those interested in a Christian outlook)
It’s Saturday. Yesterday was Good Friday, the day we commemorate the death of Jesus. Tomorrow is Sunday. The sun will rise and many millions of people around the world will celebrate Christ’s victorious rising from the dead. We will greet each other:
“Christ is Risen, Alleluia”
“He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia, Alleluia”
Thursday and Friday were sad days. (Thursday also coincided with my daughter Catherine’s death anniversary, so it was particularly so for me.) Now on Saturday many will attend services of commitment and renewal of vows. There’s a bit of what I call “breathless waiting”, as we know that the joy of resurrection awaits tomorrow. Sunrise. Just to make it to sunrise.
Some people are probably simply waiting for tomorrow for a good Easter meal, meeting up with friends and family. Is this when the Easter eggs are opened and eaten? I’m not sure about that particular tradition, as I was not brought up in a Christian household and my Christian faith is a matter of choice rather than heritage.
In any case, I was thinking about this breathless waiting, this eager anticipation, that we may be feeling right now, and reflecting on my own hope for my children, that one day I will see them again. After all, that’s what Jesus and Easter is all about. My faith journey has not been perfect and for me it is a hope that I will see them again and all will be well. God willing, it will be so.
But then it struck me that the followers and family of Jesus, at this point of time all those years ago, were not waiting breathlessly. From what I have read, they didn’t expect him to rise from the dead. They hadn’t understood that bit. They didn’t get it that this really really bad day, when Jesus was arrested, tried, convicted and then executed, could have any good follow-up.
They were hopeless, I guess. They tucked themselves away in a secure location, afraid for their own safety. Their lack of hope seemed to go hand in hand with fear. They didn’t know that around the corner there would be the greatest sunrise.
I tend to be quite pessimistic. To be honest, many times I have felt quite hopeless about life, and the loss of my dear Pax and Catherine has taught me that not every prayer is answered, although I have been fortunate with my own health, having now survived and fairly much recovered from two bouts of cancer and lots of other things besides. Still, I can’t say that much of the time I’m waiting breathlessly for something good around the corner.
But it is nice to hope, isn’t it. And that’s where Easter is so very special. It teaches us that even when we don’t expect it, there is hope.
I see hope as something that goes beyond feelings – because feelings can suffer from life’s blows, as mine have. But Easter hope is deep in the soul, quietly whispering, he conquered death, and because of that we can breathlessly wait for the better future that is promised.
May the sunrise of Easter break through our confusion and lead us to peace.