Wednesday of Holy Week: Hope

March 31, 2021

Bath Abbey, Great Britain

Midway through Holy Week, consider the millions, if not billions, of prayers lifted by candleflame through the ages.  The steadfastness of the flame offers the comfort of hope as its smoke wafts toward heaven, a visual sign that our prayer is being lifted, noticed, even heard.  Our control is released and entrusted to the Creator of All.

In a similar way, Holy Week is a prayer lifted to heaven.  We have endured the rigors of Lent, of the transitional season, not just for the past six weeks but for the past year.  We have witnessed what Christ witnessed two thousand years ago when he taught us to pray—his beloved children on the boundaries, the marginalized, the broken, the poor, the bereft, the sick, the dying, the homeless—begging to be noticed, to be significant, to have their prayers heard.  And in our inward journeys, we have recognized our broken and neglected places, our shadows and light, also seeking to be heard and healed.

The reality of Holy Week is that we cannot fully appreciate healing, resurrection, or fulfilled hope if we haven’t first entered our own gardens of uncertainty, disillusionment, and fear.  We cannot rise from the ashes if we, like Christ, don’t raise our emptied hands in acceptance and trust.  Just as the journey to the cross was not an easy one, neither is the journey of transformation, within ourselves and without in our world.  And so we pray. When we, like Christ, surrender to the unknown in trust and love, and move forward with opened arms, we discover the same Divine Love found in Christ.  In our Holy of Holies, in our deepest deep, lies the core of hope, the hope that resurrection and new life do happen and will happen. 

The final meal still awaits.  So do the bitter garden of tears, and betrayal, the unjust system, the deceitful politics, the humiliation and the sacrifice.   We pray Holy Week when we lift in prayers of hope all those whom Christ came to serve, when we lift our own brokenness, knowing that Jesus Christ experienced and felt much of the same. We pray Holy Week when we seek the wisdom and courage to end the unjust systems and corrupt politics that make gods of power and greed. May we finish this journey with Christ as a prayer wafting to heaven, reflecting on the words found in Hebrews 6: 18b-19:  “Hold fast to the hope that lies before us.  This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil.”  Blessings ~ Rosemary