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  • Writer's picturegraeme


It’s the hope that nearly killed me...

That’s a line from the amazing documentary, “Touching the Void”. Joe Simpson and his mountaineering partner Simon Yates were caught in a snowstorm on the Siula Grande in Peru. Joe broke his leg and in a failed attempt at a self rescue, was then left for dead on the mountain. He managed to get himself down the mountain, only to discover he was far away from any civilisation and had to drag himself across glaciers and rocks for a few days becoming dehydrated and frost bitten, before finally being rescued.

Having managed to get himself to the bottom of the mountain, he says that it was the dashing of his hopes of rescue at that point that was the lowest moment of the experience for him. Dashed hopes can kill you.

When you think you can see an end to the tough times, and then you discover it’s going to get even worse, you can feel completely defeated. Having hope crushed is one of the toughest things for a human being to deal with.

I am a Christian, and today is Good Friday. The crushing of hope is what we remember today. A small group of Jewish people had hoped that this man called Jesus would lead them out from under Roman oppression. And then the Romans crucified and killed him. They were devastated. Crushed. Defeated.

Let’s not forget that this morning. Many people around the world have had hopes crushed by Covid-19. Plans for weddings, family holidays, reunions and special events are now off. Plans for studies and moving on to a new phase of life are now in tatters. Many are facing an uncertain employment future. For some, they saw an initial lockdown period as more than they would be able to bear - and then it got extended by a few more weeks.

Hopes and dreams lie crushed in the dust at their feet.

Let’s extend grace and patience and empathy and care to all these people. It is appropriate to cry, to mourn, to be angry even.

But it is also appropriate to begin to lift our eyes and realise that rescue is coming, that the darkness won’t last forever, and that hope replaced by resolve is a powerful driving force.

Or, as we Christians remind ourselves: it’s Friday; but Sunday’s coming.

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