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Six Questions for Lent | What are You Hoping For?

‘Let us rejoice and be glad

and give him glory!

For the wedding of the Lamb has come,

and his bride has made herself ready.’

REVELATION 19:7

 

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’

JOHN 14:1–4

 


 

What are you hoping for?

Hope, in general terms, is the joyful anticipation of a good thing that might happen – a long meal with a good friend, a holiday in the sun, your dog bounding towards you in exuberant welcome, an end to war in Ukraine.

Hope in the Bible is the joyful anticipation of a perfect thing that will happen: the wedding banquet with Jesus; eternal relationship basking in the light of his face; his warm welcome; ‘Well done good and faithful servant’; and an end to all war, hunger, and pain.

Here, as our Lenten journey brings us to the night before Jesus’ self-giving death, the Saviour’s focus is on the hope of continuing relationship with him. The disciples have finally come to accept that he is going to be killed, that they are to be separated. Jesus reassures them that they will spend eternity with him in his Father’s house. But he also promises them that he will not leave them alone now. He will send the Holy Spirit to guide, strengthen, and accompany them – his Spirit in them day by day, moment by moment (John 14:14–16, 26).

Hope for today, hope for whatever tomorrow brings, and hope for eternity are all guaranteed and fuelled by the abiding presence of the Spirit in our lives. And they all work together. Our eternal hope puts today and tomorrow in perspective, and today’s reassurance reminds us of the joy to come.

Yes, today may bring hard choices, painful sacrifices, and confusion: the decision to admit a costly mistake, to obey God’s word with acidic cultural winds blasting in our face, to trust God’s will when his will is agony to us. All these become possible not only because of the joy set before us by Christ, but because of the work of the Spirit of Christ in us now.

In this, Christ’s journey to the cross shows us the way. Empowered and guided by the Spirit, strengthened by the joy that was set before him (Hebrews 12:2) to do the Father’s will rather than his own, he gave his life in our service – as we are to give ours in service of him, and those we meet day by day.

In good times and tough, remember the coming wedding banquet of the Lamb. Even now, can’t you hear the wedding bells ringing?

And ask not for whom the bells ring. They ring for you.

Mark Greene
Mission Champion, LICC

Comments

  1. Mark, thank you so much for this reflection. ‘Hope’ is my ‘ word for the year, and this reflection resonates so deeply, particularly the words ‘to trust God’s will when his will is agony for us.’ Hope and trust are so tightly plaited aren’t they? Thanks for the reminder. Blessings.

    By Mags Duggan  -  27 Mar 2023
  2. An old pop song which seems to resonate with the wedding bells motif in this reflection; no bells heard, and none of the other things mentioned appreciated except in the light of Christ.

    There were bells on a hill
    But I never heard them ringing
    No, I never heard them at all
    ‘Til there was you
    There were birds in the sky
    But I never saw them winging
    No, I never saw them at all
    ‘Til there was you
    Then there was music
    And wonderful roses
    They tell me in sweet fragrant meadows
    Of dawn and dew
    There was love all around
    But I never heard it singing
    No, I never heard it at all
    ‘Til there was you
    Then there was music
    And wonderful roses
    They tell me in sweet fragrant meadows
    Of dawn and dew
    There was love all around
    But I never heard it singing
    No, I never heard it at all
    ‘Til there was you
    ‘Til there was you

    By Hill Gaston  -  27 Mar 2023
  3. Very helpful as ever, Mark: thank you!

    By Alan Cottenden  -  27 Mar 2023
  4. This morning (before I read the Word for the Week) the words ““No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” were in my mind. It’s so easy for me to neglect what Scripture says about what’s ahead because it is so beyond anything I can imagine…which means I am in great need of reminders such as you provided today. Thanks, Mark!

    By Gary Nielsen  -  27 Mar 2023

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