We have now stepped into Holy Week. The changing mood of Palm Sunday is behind us and we set our faces towards the cross. It's an inbetween time, anticipating what's coming but we are not quite there yet.
Life has many inbetween times, times when we are not quite at ease with everything. Times perhaps when we know we are going to be moving on, but have to still focus on the work in hand; times when things that were once clear cut and understandable now feel less so; times when a crisis has occurred which still needs working through; the time between death and the funeral; the period of depression; the awful situation which we cannot get out of; the time between the appointment and the diagnosis; times when we know something is going to happen, but we are not sure what; times when it is extremely difficult to practise the presence of God.
These are waiting times with a difference - emotionally we cannot disengage, we have no energy for creativity, we are caught up in the turmoil of the moment. Two words often come to mind when thinking about how we handle those difficult moments 'Hope' and 'Remembrance'. The first, though often takes a degree of faith that many of us do not have in certain tough situations. I went through a couple of short periods of depression earlier in my life, and tried to cling on to the fact that one day the sun will indeed shine again, one day I will feel happier - yet found it almost impossible to do so. It takes every ounce of belief to convince oneself that everything will turn out alright. However, 'hope' can be kept alive by the second word 'remembrance.'
From Old Testament times God commanded his people to 'remember'. To remember their deliverance, to remember how God had provided for them, to remember the promises he has made. He knew that when things got difficult they would have to trust the future in the light of what has happened in the past. Time and time again, we read, that the people forgot. They forgot what God had done, and forgot him, turning to other means to rescue them. So in our bleaker moments, we are called to remember what God has done in the past so we can have hope for the future.
At a service tonight I am preaching on the passage chosen by the new Rector Isaiah 61 'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me....' This important passage became Jesus' manifesto and it brings us a challenge particularly during Holy Week. Yesterday, I wrote about our interactive Bible study. Everyone involved - the crowd, the high priests, the disciples and Jesus - all expressed feeling perplexed after the events of Palm Sunday. Today I read these words from Luke ' As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, 'If you, even you, had only recognised on this day the things that make for peace.' Everyone had failed to remember those earlier promises in those difficult last days.
Hope of the resurrection does lie somewhere ahead...but for many is blurred by confusion, tears, doubt, paralysis and emptiness......it would be easy to turn elsewhere......but by remembering what God has done, or the good of the past, and trusting that for the future, we have all we need to keep going.