What are you hoping for this year?
‘Hope’ is the theme of our upcoming Synodical Convention in May, carried over from last year’s planned event which could not take place face-to-face due to the pandemic.
At present many of us are hoping for a COVID vaccine that works. We’re hoping that enough people are willing to ‘get the jab’ in a timeframe that will allow more freedoms and less restrictions. We’re hoping for an end to the uncertainties we have been living with for over a year now.
We are always hoping for something – for ourselves, those we love, the Church and for the world. Some of our hopes are realised and some aren’t. Some hopes are dashed in this life, often causing us to live with ongoing grief. And it seems that everyone lives with unrealised hopes, in one way or another.
Our consciousness of mortality has grown in the past year. Even though Australia has fared comparatively well regarding virus deaths, the sheer numbers overseas, as well as the limit on mourners allowed at funerals here last year, raised our consciousness of death a few notches. This time last year, as we faced the unknowns of COVID, we were preparing our hospital system for a potential influx of sick and dying people at an unprecedented scale – a fact that has made us all aware, and maybe fearful, of our mortality.
At Easter, we hear the words of St Paul:
“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” 1 Corinthians 15:19-20
As people who are living and dying with hope in Christ, we don’t just have hope for this life. Our sights and our hope are much bigger than that. Because Jesus is risen and because he promises to raise us to life with him forever one day, we have hope that stretches into eternity. Our hope is not just hope ‘post-COVID’, but hope ‘post-death’!
Paul describes death as falling asleep and waking to a new resurrected life, just as Jesus did. Because Jesus lives, our hope for our ‘forever life’ includes a resurrected body that won’t wear out.
What God has given us in Easter is a ‘bigger picture’, one that has always been helpful for me. It helps me to realise that the things that happen now in this life will not be the last word, or the end of all hope. In fact, because I have a rock-solid, risen-Christ guaranteed resurrection of my own to look forward to, I can get on with living life in the now, with no fear of the future, or regrets due to unfulfilled hopes. I can go through anything and put up with anything, knowing the best is yet to come.
Imagine living every day looking forward not backward, in hope not fear, with the realisation that great things are just around the corner. Easter enables us – urges us – to do just that. It is not wishful thinking. It is faith, based on the knowledge that Jesus has been raised from the dead, just as you too will be.
Enjoy your Easter and keep on living in the hope it offers.
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