Reflections for Holy Week: A Hope-Filled People

PALM SUNDAY | Psalm 31:9–16, Philippians 2:5–11
By Sharon Galgay Ketcham, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Theology and Christian Ministries

I dislike aging. I prefer being young and invincible. Remember when life was brimming with possibilities and ideals?

Something shifted inside me post-kids. My desire to nurture and protect them altered the frame through which I saw the world. Like a veil lifted, suffering was in plain view. I became increasingly aware of the world’s brokenness. I felt an internal conflict—maybe a crisis of faith. Christians are people of hope, aren’t we? After all, the Scriptures witness to Christ who made all, reconciles all, and one day will redeem all (Colossians 1:15–20). All will be made right.

YET here we wait. I hear a similar cry from the Psalmist, “My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning” (31:10a). Where is hope right now?

Karl Barth announces hope in Christ’s humiliation and exaltation (Philippians 2:5–11). God acts toward us in Christ. Christ’s ongoing activity continues to save us from ourselves for Christ’s redemptive purposes. Yes, we hope amidst suffering because we anticipate full redemption. However, as we wait, we can join the Psalmist’s trust-filled declaration (vs. 14) because God is still acting toward us in Christ through the Spirit redeeming life out of death. Claiming hope means acting in hope-filled ways amidst the brokenness and joining with Christ’s redeeming activity every day. This is the Christian vocation. Hope-filled actions are present signs of our ultimate hope. Maybe, through Christ, we are young and invincible after all.

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“Reflections for Holy Week”—daily devotionals written by Gordon College faculty and compiled by the Center for Faith and Inquiry (CFI)—was first published in the spring 2018 issue of STILLPOINT magazineCFI is dedicated to forming thoughtful Christians for global engagement by carrying on valued traditions and innovating new ones—such as the Distinguished Visiting Scholars program, Jeffersonian dinners, the Gordon College Symposium and a variety of publications.