This Holy Week: The Promise of Hope

Practicing faith as we head toward an Easter like no other.

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Posted in , Apr 2, 2020

Holy Week promise of hope

This week doesn’t at all feel like Holy Week. There are no services to go to. No marching around with palms on Palm Sunday. No sharing of the bread on Maundy Thursday. No gathering together to mark Jesus’ suffering on Good Friday.

Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. That can seem hard to do these days when loving your neighbor means staying at least six feet away from them.  

Our closest neighbor here in our New York apartment building has the dreaded disease. Seems to be a mild case. We pray it stays that way. In the meanwhile, I struggle to hold on to hope. The promise of Easter feels light years away.

But then I remember how Jesus' original followers must have felt during that first Holy Week. The threat of death very much in the air, the possibility of a horrible crucifixion. And yet, this was the week that brought them to faith. Here are a few ways I'm mimicking them to try and stay faithful myself.

Give thanks.

God gives us the day. Every morning I give thanks for it. For the sun coming up, the flowers bursting through the soil, the fresh-scented air, the wind shaking the branches of the forsythia and the daffodils flush with gold. God is right here.

Don't hide.

Jesus didn’t begin His ministry until He spent 40 days being tested in the wilderness. In the end He told the Tempter to be gone. Enough already. We can do the same. I observe my emotions like anger and fear. I won’t hide from them (they get bigger that way). Then I can send them packing. Over and over.

Turn to the Word.

How helpful it is to turn to a Bible verse and just hold it in my head and heart. “Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” (1Peter 5:7). “I can do all things through Him who strengthens Me” (Philippians 4:13).

That first verse is from Peter. That second from Paul. Look at the hard times they had to face. What wildernesses they wandered through. And wow, listen to what they could say.

Reach out–virtually. 

Send that email, send that text. Get together on FaceTime or have a Google hang out. Just because we can't physically see people doesn't mean we can't love our neighbor.

Pray for others. 

Every night I pray for the medical workers at the hospital south of us, only 15 blocks away. They cared for me in crisis moments. I care desperately for them. I close my eyes and picture them, flooding them with warmth. God’s love is always here.

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