Hour of Woe, Hour of Promise
IN the Christian celebration of Easter, many commemorations start by remembering what could have been for many the lowest point in human history: the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells how political and religious leaders conspired to slay Jesus, despite his spirituality and healing love. Any rational assessment must class the crucifixion as an hour of merciless woe for Jesus and his followers, as well as for humankind.
The Easter story doesn't end with woe, however. It goes on to unveil a promise. It tells how Jesus proved that the power of God could overcome all evil. Before his crucifixion Jesus struggled mightily, because he foresaw the events that would follow. And despite his knowing the appalling crime that would be committed against him as God's faithful Son, Jesus recognized and trusted God's supreme authority. Even in that hour, he obediently bowed to God's will, which was that he must prove his immortality, facing and overcoming hatred and death through God's power.
Jesus' confidence in this divine power was fully vindicated in his resurrection, and in what Christians call his ascension-his passing beyond all human view. And this surely represents the highest of points in human history! In their own time, these events radically altered his disciples' understanding of God, showing that what He created cannot die.
Consideration of these unique events continues to transform humanity's understanding. Jesus' final proof of God's power, his victory over death itself, remains the true consequence of the hour that had loomed so menacingly.
The triumphant conclusion to the Easter story still speaks to us. It tells you and me that we, too, can triumph over evil.
At times sickness, poverty, or despair may seem to be poised to undermine your well-being. They might already be doing so. But whatever is disturbing you, and however deep seems the particular evil you face, the vital need in each instance is for fresh insight into the fact that God is Love, and that you reflect this infinite Love. To the degree you see your real need, when troubled, to be a new view of God's goodness and your spiritual identity, you are already beginning to turn an hour of woe into one of promise. This is part of the Easter promise of spiritual renewal through prayer and honest living.
It's possible to pray for spiritual knowledge and better lives. Answering this prayer, ideas from God come to us to show the way precisely as needed. When God is directing, even actual tribulations will turn into prisms of spiritual promise. The result is physical healing, income, peace, marriage, or whatever practical solution we might require.
Mary Baker Eddy, the woman who founded Christian Science on the teachings of Jesus, wrote this: "Truth and Love come nearer in the hour of woe, when strong faith or spiritual strength wrestles and prevails through the understanding of God." You can find the complete statement of Christian Science in the book this quotation comes from, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 567).
This is the Easter promise that always belongs to each of us: that God can become clearer to us, and therefore dearer to us, healing us, no matter how we are challenged. God never causes our woes; and He is never absent from our lives, or even distant from us. But we often need to awake to recognize His presence. And an "hour of woe"-no matter how unwelcome it seems-can lead us to turn humbly to God.
If any man serve me, let him
follow me; and where I am,
there shall also my servant be:
if any man serve me, him will
my Father honour.... And I, if
I be lifted up from the earth,
will draw all men unto me.
John 12:26, 32