Last night I sat in the quiet beauty of our church for the last Lenten service of this year. Our music director, Thomas Pavlechko, has written the most beautiful Vespers service, and as the sound washed over me, I felt connected to the millions of people who have sat in similar services throughout history, waiting and hoping for the light. Not just Christians, but all who look for the light, for the good and right, the just and the merciful.
A reading from Jeremiah reminded me again of the battle for hope that has been waged from the beginning. And the notion that sticks with me is simple. Our hope does not come from the darkness of this present time. It comes from the promised light of tomorrow.The concept is simple, but it is one I need to hear again and again. And I need to be still in order to hear it.
We live in a rush-rush, speedy world. Hurry to work. Hurry to lunch. Hurry home. Hurry to get there, wherever that is. If you don't believe it, drive in Austin during rush hour. Everyone is rushing to sit in traffic. They may not be moving, but the feeling of hurrying is not diminished by actual speed. We encourage planning for the future to the point of missing today. When I get the promotion, when I go on vacation, when I get the house/child/publisher/recognition/retirement. Hurry. Get yours before it is gone.
So, I sit in the quiet. With the added blessing of sitting with my 40-years best friend and love. I breathe and see and hear and wait and tear-up just a little at the very, very poignant yearning for hope that Jeremiah and everyone before and after him experience. Everyone feels the darkness. The pain and loneliness, the disappointment and regret.
On this sunny morning I look out at the sun glinting on the bit of river that is the Pedernales, and again I am still enough to hear the promise. And I live in the hope that all people will feel it, too. That the words of comfort will come to us all in our greatest need. And that we will pass them on. We don't have to hurry. The hope is not going anywhere.