We are just a couple of days away from the Paschal Triduum; the three days from Holy (Maundy) Thursday evening to Easter Sunday evening. In these three days, we celebrate Jesus’ life, death and Resurrection. It’s the holiest time of year for Christians and the Triduum services are very powerful and moving.
As I think about Easter, the first word that always comes to mind is “hope.” And, not just any hope, but hope that is limitless; hope that believes anything is possible; hope that screams from the rooftops, “Not even death has the last word!”
I don’t know about you, but I have needed a renewed sense of hope in these times. There is a blanket of heaviness in the world right now and it’s hard not to be suffocated under the weight of world poverty, injustice, violence, and environmental degradation. However, after months of feeling overwhelmed by all that is happening in the world, I recently participated in an event that provided a renewed sense of hope.
About ten days ago, I went to Washington, DC for the annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) gathering; a movement of the ecumenical Christian community. JustFaith Ministries became a sponsor of Ecumenical Advocacy Days earlier this year. While I was begrudging the fact that I would be away from my family over the spring break weekend, my experience at EAD wiped away any short-term grumblings. There were people and organizations present who are actively and relentlessly working on poverty, nonviolence, immigration, creation care, international human rights, refugee ministry, human trafficking, racism, voting rights and many other issues that keep many of our brothers and sisters from living with a basic sense of our God-given dignity. There were EAD participants who were new to the work of peace and justice, and there were participants who have been advocating for peace and justice issues for twenty, thirty, and even fifty years.
What was most compelling about the experience was not the speakers, although they were outstanding. It was not the diversity of age, religion and race, though the large group was diverse. It was not the breakout sessions, which were informative and thought-provoking. What was most compelling was the willingness of all 500 plus participants to roll up their sleeves and advocate for justice and peace. And, not just roll up their sleeves and work together for justice, but doing it with an extraordinary sense of hope and an unrelenting belief that no political or social mountain is too high to climb for people of faith.
No matter how heavy your heart and mind may be about the state of the world right now, my hope is that you will lean into “possibility” this Holy Week and Easter. May you feel in the depths of your being the words of Muhammad Ali, boxing great and social activist: “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
Impossible is the Resurrection. May we find Easter Hope there.
Holy Week and Easter Blessings,