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The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear?
. . . Wait for the Lord ; be strong, and stout-hearted.
Wait for the Lord! ~ Ps 27:1, 14

Although it doesn’t always seem so, waiting is an inherently hopeful activity, as we anticipate or long for good things to come even as we endure the trials of the present moment. In Hebrew, “to wait for” and “to hope” are actually expressed by the same verb. And indeed, this is a week in which—if we enter wholeheartedly into the searing experiences of Jesus’s passion and death—we will need every shred of strength, courage and hope we can muster.

A dozen years ago, my husband and I took our four children to a beautiful Dominican church on Good Friday, where a small musical ensemble sang the entire passion of Christ from the Gospel of John. Our kids still talk about that afternoon—mostly how at times it seemed it would never end, as those clarion voices enunciated every syllable of every word of John’s passion account, down to “And Jesus said. . .” This is how we are called to go through this holiest of weeks: thoroughly, scrupulously, sharing every syllable and every moment of our Lord’s suffering. If we commit the full power of our imaginations and the full strength of our hearts to this work of devotion, there will be moments when the world seems broken beyond redemption. And we will be called, in those moments, to place our trust in the guiding radiance of the Lord, who is, as the psalmist assures us, our light and our salvation.

Throughout the turbulent days ahead, as we accompany Jesus from his triumphant entry into Jerusalem to his desolation upon the cross, we wait, we take courage and we live in hope for the wondrous new life that lies on the other side of that cross.

Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy, imbue my waiting with gladness as I look for your coming, and keep me from despair, knowing that all things will be made new in you.Amen.

For today’s readings, click here.

To hear the choir of Ely Cathedral sing “Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,” click here.

More: Lent / Prayer
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