Faith: Easter Hope, with a capital 'H'
Not that long ago, a friend of mine wondered about something that was very helpful. She wondered if when one preached about “the hope” of the resurrection of Christ, whether people heard it as she knew it was intended to be heard.
I asked her what she meant. She observed that often, hope means something like a wish. When we use the word “hope” in regular conversation, it’s in the context of “I hope” it doesn’t rain or “I hope” I can make it to this or that event, etc.
I agreed! Often, we do use the word “hope” as it’s defined in the first definition from Merriam Webster: “to want something to happen or be true.” It’s as if we’re not sure, but we really wish this or that will happen when we are talking with others.
And right now, we hear a lot of that kind of hope talk with our current uncertainties and calamities from day to day. We have hopes about what will be or what will not be; we hear it from one another and our leaders.
There’s nothing wrong with using the word "hope" that way, and we are hoping for better times soon for everyone.
But, when it comes to our faith and Christ’s resurrection promise, we use the word “hope” a little differently. The “hope” of the Resurrection is more than something we just want to happen or wish to be true on Easter morning; it’s something we can count on with certitude.
Christ’s resurrection is a promise, a certainty, a gift, no matter what; it’s more than how we normally use the word “hope.”
We find this particular definition of hope in Merriam Webster further down the page: “to expect with confidence, trust.” Maybe we should give this sort of hope a capital H, to distinguish it! The Hope of the Resurrection gives us confidence. We trust it.
And in chaotic times like this, we need this assurance, this conviction, this confidence - the Hope of the Resurrection, the promise from our Lord that brings Christ’s victory over death and darkness to each and every one of us, each and every day.
We trust this gift of new life for us as deep Hope that sustains us because our God is a God of love whose Son promises that “I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). This promise holds true no matter what!
Christ wants that abundance for all God’s people and enables that through his death and resurrection, our Hope is grounded in that, despite the chaos around us.
As our Lutheran bishop has reminded us, even when we find it hard to trust this Hope, we lean on Christ’s trust within us and for us. So, my Easter prayer for our world and community is that “our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word,” now and forever, Amen. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
Kristin Oltmann is pastor at Crosslake Lutheran Church.