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JENNY ADAMS: Hope for the Future

By Jenny Adams

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Today is Good Friday.

Silhouette of Jesus with Cross over sunset concept for religion, worship, Christmas, Easter, Redeemer Thanksgiving prayer and praise
Silhouette of Jesus with Cross over sunset concept for religion, worship, Christmas, Easter, Redeemer Thanksgiving prayer and praise

For those enjoying a public holiday, I hope it’s a good day.

As a Christian, I’ve always struggled with labelling it good, as the story of that Friday goes to the depths of pain, loss and fear.

On a Friday nearly 2000 years ago, Jesus of Nazareth faced unfair trials. He was tortured and beaten. He was publicly executed.

It’s an awful story. It shows what can happen when the powerful fear losing control and when others fear the unleashing of violence.

As such, it’s definitely still a story for 2022. The war in Ukraine is tragically just one example of conflict and human rights abuses resulting from powerful people trying to retain or extend control.

Closer to home, policies keeping out desperate refugees and limiting the right to protest seem grounded in fear.

Jenny Adams
Jenny Adams

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The Good Friday story is also a story of pain and loss.

There is physical pain for Jesus.

There’s the loss for his friends and family, compounded by the fact that many hadn’t stood by him - they also lose something of their own self-understanding.

There’s a deep psychological and spiritual pain expressed by Jesus, feeling abandoned by God.

These also connect with our lives. None of us are exempt from losing people or from physical pain. Many of us question who we are. Most of us will occasionally ask big questions about the existence or presence of God, however we understand him/her.

The Good Friday story touches lots of situations - personal, national and global. I believe God is with us in those experiences, but that doesn’t offer instant relief.

After the death and loss comes waiting, wondering and weeping. The last two years make ongoing uncertainty a universal experience. Easter Saturday shares that and it continues on Easter Sunday.

The women who find an empty tomb face disbelief and confusion. The friends who’re told Jesus is alive maybe believe something but keep themselves locked away in fear.

The followers who head for home and who return to fishing don’t understand it as something life changing.

I think that ongoing uncertainty is important to hear this year.

We can have big celebrations of new life and hope, with chocolate, daffodils and hallelujahs.

But we are still living in difficult times – in homes and finances, in churches and communities, and in global wars and crises.

I think it helps to know that fear and confusion are integral to the big stories of our cultures and faiths.

I believe God is with us in fear, loss and uncertainty. And I believe there is hope, sometimes in big transformations, but often glimpsed through tears, gently leading us through the best and worst of times.

However we mark Easter, may we all glimpse hope and new life in the days ahead.

n Jenny Adams is Minister of Duffus, Spynie and Hopeman Church of Scotland. Read her column each fortnight.

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