Once, I’m told, during an Easter morning children’s sermon, a priest was describing the scene at the tomb that first Easter sunrise when a child interrupted his story. “I know the first thing Jesus did when he came out of the tomb,” the girl said. “What?” the priest asked. Jumping out of her seat and thrusting her arms high overhead, fingers spread, she chimed, “Ta-da!!”
Precious! No wonder Jesus said we needed to have faith like little children. We celebrate Easter just once a year, but the hope of Easter morning springs always and eternal in the hearts of Christians everywhere. Steven Curtis Chapman, reflecting on the 2008 death of his 5-year-old daughter Maria, described faith under such tragic circumstances as “grieving with hope.”
That kind of hope requires setting cynicism aside. Only then can we understand the statements made in Hebrews:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen….This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.”
The thing about anchors is that they are only useful if they remain securely attached to the ship. If we allow the line to fray or come lose through neglect (or worse, if we cut it off), we will go adrift, off-course, in rough waters.
Daily, we (the universal ‘we’) suffer the pain of the death of loved ones, the loss of jobs, relationships broken. We agonize over life savings dashed, diminished health, evaporated dreams. The world can be a dark and scary place; it is easy to lose our way. Are we ready to hear God’s “Ta-da!”? Are we ready for hope?
Nurture faith, don’t ever let it die.