For this Wednesday of Holy Week, a lovely meditation on hope by Krista Brumberg Stevens (Andover, MA).
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. (Heb 12:1-3)
On this day, Judas Iscariot makes the decision to betray his Lord, a decision that will lead to Jesus hanging on a wooden cross at Golgotha, the place of the skull. How can we be hopeful this week as the skies darken? We stumble through the darkness of our own lives: darkness defined by crippling anxiety, deep sorrow, regrettable mistakes, and an ironclad guarantee that we will die and so will those we love.
Where is our joy? Where is our hope?
The Pietists recognized our human condition, but they also remind us that in spite of these dark days, in spite of guilt and regret, we are to endure. We are called to hope by recalling Christ’s great sacrifice in the name of love. Full stop. Even if I had a thousand years to try to grasp that, I could not. But I can, in my small way, reclaim hope by deciding to trust God, to read Scripture, and to pray frequently.
We err. We fail. We falter. And yet, the Pietists whisper, God is faithful; Christ rises.
May you remember that your strength comes from God, your hope from Christ, and your joy from persevering.
Praised be the love of our heavenly Father, who has carried me in his arms as his child.
Praised be Jesus Christ, my Savior, who has led me by the hand, so that no accident could overthrow me.
Praised be God, the Holy Spirit, who has not departed from me.
O thou Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, remain with me this day and night.
(from Johann Friedrich Stark)