Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Slaves of hope

I'm mindful of all my colleagues in ministry preparing liturgies and messages at the heart of the Christian year where the art and craft of their weird and wondrous calling is exercised like at no other time. They will weave ancient words and rituals with contemporary insights, words, actions, mindful of their particular context. In the course of these few days there will be light and shade, words, silence, symbolic actions. They will call us to introspection in the shadow of a cross, and they will call us to consider our complicity in the sort of evil that can crucify love. And they will call us to lift our gaze away from ourselves to the horizons of hope opened up by the story of God's victory over violence, ignorance, fear and evil.

On Sunday morning worship leaders in every church will shout the ancient Easter words - Christ is Risen! And we will respond, He is Risen indeed! And we will all pray for the faith to believe it. Because that faith makes us captive to hope. It's what helps us get out of bed each morning. It's what helps us have a word for despairing or grieving people who can see no light shining for them, knowing that 'them' is 'us' at times. It gives us something to say at those gut-wrenching funerals when there seems to be nothing to say. It helps us keep chipping away working and praying for the kind of world we believe God is looking for - a kinder, gentler, more just world.

To my colleagues in ministry, the strength and peace of the crucified and risen Christ be yours as in word and action you remind us why, in the end, we are captive to hope. May you be aware as you announce the goodnews on Easter Day that you are part of a rising chorus of tenacious, defiant  hope being proclaimed as the sun rises around the world.