Easter Hope

I turned up at church this morning for the first time in six weeks. I didn’t want to miss Easter Sunday. 

As I finished explaining about my time off sick someone piped up “He is Risen!”  It reminded me of this poster typo someone sent me last year (& just repeated … thanks Colette). It does feel a bit like a rising from the ashes. I’ve been absent for about six weeks and it’s as though I’ve risen from the dead. 

Of course, my return to Folkestone Baptist Church is absolutely nothing like the rising of Jesus from the dead. His resurrection means life and hope and peace for humanity. His resurrection proves that death and hell and sin have been beaten decisively, once and for all. His resurrection means that Ive been forgiven for my sin and put back in a right relationship with God. My mini rising from the obscurity of my sick bed? Well, folk are pleased to see me which is nice… but that’s it really. 

But just to reflect for a minute or two on those feelings of restoration and renewal… to sing with the people of God, to worship  with a fulsome heart, to be greeted by all my friends. A flicker of hope enters one’s heart that wasn’t there before. A feeling that we are on the way to recovery, normality, days without Star Trek and the West Wing. I guess this is a feeling of hope. 

Hope. It’s something really vital to the human soul. Psychologists have been really interested in hope. Charles Snyder linked hope to “the existence of a goal, combined with a determined plan for reaching that goal”

The Little Engine that could is a story of a steam engine who gets to the end of the journey by keeping on trying. He has hope. 

Star Wars: A new hope spawned a whole sci-fi generation on the premise that a few good rebels faced with a mighty empire of evil could win out – just with right in their side and a few Jedi knights. Hope can stand tall against insurmountable odds. 

We all need hope. In stories. In reality. In our own lives. When people lose hope they lose the will to live. 

And so we come to the most soul-destroying, hope-evaporating truths. We live in a world that dares us to hope. We seem to be teetering on the brink of war in Syria & Korea. Right wing political parties seem to be on the increase, encouraging us to be insular and inward looking, just concerned for our own selfish needs. And then there’s family breakdown, the death of loved ones, redundancy & unemployment, poor health. I’m almost thinking of doing myself in as I write, it all seems so hopeless. 

But then the cry rings out: Christ has Risen! Praise Him! Because Jesus is alive there IS hope. Hope of better relationships. Hope of meaning and purpose in this life, in our relationship with Christ. Hope of an eternal meaning to our existence beyond the average three score years and ten. 

Going back to psychologist Charles Snyder, faith in Jesus Christ gives us hope to reach some pretty astounding goals. Hope that without him would be futile, even ridiculous. I for one am amazed at the hope he gives me and just wish all my friends could know that hope too. 

Happy Easter everyone.