April 14, 2022
As we move toward the end of the Christian Season of Lent and into the Easter Triduum, we are reflecting on the complicated hope that the promise of Easter brings. Though Lent has always been a time of contemplation and repentance in the Christian tradition, this year it has felt particularly heavy, with the continuing pandemic, wars throughout the world, and the increasing ravages of climate change.
We see the complexities of our world reflected in the Christian narratives of the Triduum, these days leading up to Easter, with the story of connection and betrayal, unjust trial and execution, burial and grieving, and ultimately resurrection. Though the biblical narrative is linear, in our lives and our world the timelines are more complex – each day often holds hope, anger, despair, peace, delight, anxiety, and more, which come and go like weather.
Our team has been thinking and talking lately about the difference between hope and optimism, a distinction which seems particularly important in this Lent and Easter season. Hope is radical, encouraging us to act for the better good of all creation precisely because we do not know the outcome. Even in times where optimism is untenable, hope encourages us to imagine a different way, or many different ways, toward justice and flourishing.
The truth is, there are small and miraculous happenings all around us. The poet Mary Oliver offers these instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. These opportunities for astonishment do not erase the terrible suffering of the world, of course, just as Easter Sunday does not erase Good Friday. But they offer an antidote, a balance, a way of anchoring and grounding ourselves in connection and radical hope. This Holy Week and Easter, we wish you an abundance of small astonishments.
With best wishes,