Pathways through Lent

In the Pursuit of Hope

Psalm 22 Isaiah 52:13–53:12 Hebrews 10:16–25 or Hebrews 4:14–16, 5:7–9 John 18:1–19:42

Good Friday: the eternal metaphor for the bleakest of times, when life sits us right smack down in the midst of a cold and piercing sorrow, way beyond the comfort of tears.

I ponder often the plight of my ancestors who were held as chattel in this country, yet seemingly and paradoxically adopted so readily the Christian religion of their enslavers. Those stern lessons were simple. As property, scripture instructed them to obey their masters, and they were not to steal.

Yet no such iron-clad commands could contain the miracle that is the resilient human spirit through which they found in Christianity a rock-solid promise of liberation and hope. They did not need courses in theology to know the meaning of the Exodus narrative. In it they found hope that if God delivered and redeemed and freed the Israelites, and let them cross the Red Sea on dry land, and sent His Son to be the latter-day Moses—to renew the message of deliverance, redemption, and comfort—then God would, indeed, deliver them.

There were inevitably many Good Fridays, but in order to survive there must have been faith that someday light would pierce their gloom. The hope for light—for a clearing, for deliverance—was there to imagine, to believe in. Just believe. Have faith.

The human spirit cannot exist in a world of Good Fridays. There cannot just be a bleak landscape. The horizon must show that the sun will rise, that resurrection is coming, that there will be an Easter day.

–Riley Temple


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