By Christie Goodman
What would it be like to hear the story of the original Holy Week without knowing what comes next? Here, in that first part of the week, we might be still chattering about seeing Jesus arrive a few days earlier in crowd of excitement. After learning about that angry scene in the temple, we might be worrying about the reactions of officials. And we might be crossing our fingers that Jesus doesn’t stir up any more trouble.
Even if we could foresee that Jesus would be punished or even killed by the local leadership, we could never have imagined the darkness that would follow for three days. And we certainly would not have expected the light of the Resurrection. Even those closest to him could not predict such a thing.
Generations before Jesus, the Psalmist sang, “But I, I will always have hope” (71: 14). He surely hadn’t skipped to the end of the Jesus chapter to sneak a peek at the last few lines. But reflecting on his own life, with its ups and downs, cruelty and beauty, fears and assurances, he asserts the hope in God that is in his heart.
Given our post-Resurrection vantage point, is it easier for us to be hopeful? Jim Wallis of Sojourners said: “Hope is not a feeling or a mood or a personality type. Hope is a choice.” Our understanding of the Resurrection and our resulting experiences lead us to be a people of hope. We choose hope for the world, even when war, abuse and disease seem to have a life of their own. Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Years ago, I had the privilege of meeting Archbishop Tutu. Apartheid was still in place, and yet he exuded hope. It was contagious. He did not mince words about what was happening to his people. But he knew where the source of hope lies. It was through that hope that he and others led a nation to reconciliation. Hope is not passive optimism. It is active, alive. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1: 5). Yes. We choose hope.