I said this past Sunday that you can live for three weeks without food but only three days without water (according to Bear Gryls, Man vs Wild on Netflix). I was thinking, as important as food and water are for our survival, there are some things even more important than water … like air. You can only live a few minutes with air. Then it occurred to me, because we are not just physical beings, there is something even more important than any of those other things … food, water, air. It is hope. You can’t live without hope. You need hope to cope. Food, water, air may keep your body alive but hope is what keeps your soul alive.
Most people don’t understand hope. Hope is not some wishful thinking about the future – pie in the sky in the bye and bye. You need hope now. You need hope today. You need hope in the morning. You need hope, not because you’re going to die tonight, but because you’ve got to get up tomorrow and live.
Hope is not optimism. Optimism is psychological; hope is theological. Optimism is personal trust in yourself; hope is personal trust in God. Optimism is what you think you can do. Hope is what you think God can do. Sometimes optimism is a denial of reality. It’s positive thinking instead of a permanent trust. Sometimes optimism just denies the fact that, yeah, life really is bad as your life is at this particular moment. But hope never does that. Hope is always founded in reality. Hope says, yep it’s bad; it’s really, really bad. In fact I don’t think it’s been any worse than it is right now. But I believe God can bring us through this. I believe God is in control. You need hope to survive just as much as you need food, water and air.
If hope is that important, where do you get it? Easter is the key because it is the source of all hope for believers. Easter is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the central event of all history. When Jesus rose from the dead it was the most important event ever to happen in history. Nothing is more important. Nothing is more hopeful. Nothing helps us more because nothing gives us more hope.
I don’t know about you, but if I am not careful I could easily slip through Easter and it may appear as just another long weekend with an extra church service thrown in. That is why Lent is so important. This year our focus during Lent was on the cross. Of course nothing could be a more appropriate theme for Lent. I have been praying that during this Lent season many of you have been learning some new ways to pray and reflect on your spiritual lives as you read your way through the Prayer Book provided by Pastor Tom Fenske. I also trust that you have been preparing for Easter, that is what Lent is all about. It is a time to prepare for Easter so that it does not become just another ‘season’ in our busy calendars. It is a time to deepen your understanding of Jesus’ love and demonstrated by the cross at Calvary.
The Good Friday stations of the cross experience is very special this year. We like to try new things at Westheights and this is something we have never done before. It is an event that allows you to come and experience Good Friday in a very personal and interactive way.
For more information, click here to read about this very special Good Friday experience.