How quickly things can change. It was only a few weeks ago that the senior class at BDS was preparing to embark on our long-awaited pilgrimage to Canterbury and were heartbroken to find out that pilgrimage wouldn’t be made this year. In the intervening month, this disappointment and heartbreak have become something of the global mood as COVID-19 has interrupted and challenged just about every aspect of our shared life—most significantly, of course, by the tragic premature ends of so many thousands of precious lives.
To be graduating with an M.Div. and seeking ordination to the priesthood during times like these certainly raises pressing questions. The most fundamental of which is probably simply, “Where is God in all this?” Or, in the words of the snarky skeptic, “Where is your God now?” I read an interesting article this week by a prominent Anglican theologian which suggested that Christianity has “no answers” for a time and situation such as this. And that indeed, this was its strength: our faith does not explain away the problem, but assures us that just as God was grieved in Genesis and wept for Lazarus, God is with us now and laments with us in our suffering. Certainly this is important. We want to know that our God loves us and is with us at our lowest. But is that the best we can hope for? Is that the best the Gospel offers?
During these times I’m reminded of the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. whom reminds us that even in the worst of times, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
As much as we need and crave divine solidarity, it is no substitute for the divine hope that we have been given as Christians baptized into Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Our Lord did not just meet and dwell in suffering and evil at Calvary, but there overcame conquered them, and “made the whole creation new.”
This is the fundamental Christian hope, to which I believe we must cling steadfastly now more than ever. Make no mistake; this is a Good Friday moment. Our pain and grief are justified, and God is surely pained and grieving with us. But our God is a God of resurrection and deliverance who will not leave us in this Good Friday without leading us to the glory of an Easter morning. May this be our infinite hope.