We Had Hoped

Easter Sunday and I wake up to snow on the ground and a song in my head.

It’s a joyful song for a joyful day, one that swells my heart to Easter Sundays long ago, hearing my father’s tone-deaf voice, full volume, belting out the notes:

Christ the Lord is risen to-day


He always said that God had given him that voice and he was just giving it back to him.

Photo by @johnnyherrick2

How I miss the man.

But – Jesus is alive! I am alive and will forever be alive! Why shouldn’t we sing?

After the resurrection, when the disciples had yet to understand, Jesus caught up to a few of them as they left Jerusalem. Cleopas and his companion didn’t know it at the time, but they were talking about Jesus to Jesus. Close to despair, they told Jesus, We had hoped that he was the One.

But your thinking was too small, Cleopas. You thought Jesus came to rescue Israel from Rome, like some Moses-Groundhog-Day moment when their brutal bonds of physical oppression would be loosed.

Think BIGGER, Cleopas.

Any governmental victory could only be temporary; the empty tomb is a permanent mend.

Jesus asks the two men gently, Why are you so thick-headed? Why do you find it so hard to believe every word the prophets have spoken?

We. Had. Hoped.

Slowly, Jesus opens their fragile, traumatized hearts to the truth. And when he tells them that he’s going to walk on, they plead with him.


Stay with us.

So he does. And so he has.

At dinner, he reveals himself at last, and in a flash, is gone again from their eyes. Gone but not-gone.

Once you see him you cannot un-see him.

Stunned, they ask themselves, Did not our hearts burn with flames of holy passion while we walked beside him on the road?

They are compelled to tell – run, not walk, back to Jerusalem, back the way they came, only it’s not the same dusty Jerusalem road.

Their feet are light, their hearts afire. Running back, running ahead.

And when they get to the Eleven, they find Jesus has also appeared to Peter – poor Peter, still stinging from his betrayal at the court.

I wonder where Jesus had gone first?

He must have been having so much fun.

Then, when finally I’m sure he couldn’t contain himself any longer, he manifests right in the midst of them all with the most perfect of words.

Be at peace.

I am the living God.

It’s all true.

Don’t you remember – I told you that everything written about me would be fulfilled – in ME.

I think of my dad and the son who are gone.

Gone but not-gone, while I continue to age as I walk the dusty Jerusalem road toward wheretheyare.

Though no amount of lotion or make-up can smooth the wrinkles of my long and curving life, it has almost ceased to bother me.

It’s Easter and we get to live forever!

We had hoped.

He was the One.


Journeying Toward Jerusalem

On Palm Sunday some 2,000 years ago, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, as people lined the street and cheered.

At the risk of heresy, I was wondering this morning if he enjoyed the adulation. After all, as man, he experienced all the emotions we as people feel, and, as God, well, didn’t he deserve it?

I was in Luke 19 reading about the crowd tossing their coats on the road as Jesus rode by. Curious about what he was doing before that moment, I turned back a few chapters to Luke 13 to discover: He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.

Always, always, always was Jesus on his way to Jerusalem. He knew what was going to happen there, yet he wasn’t deterred. And in his wake, the blind saw, children were blessed, lepers cleansed, and the greedy converted.

Are we not also traveling toward Jerusalem? Toward Zion, that city which will one day descend from the sky and be our eternal home?

John tells us in Revelation 21 that he saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth – our earth, the death-riddled, disease-burdened, war-bloodied lonelybrokenmournful earth – had passed away. He hears a loud voice from heaven saying,

Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

No more sorrow, tears, pain, death.


Jesus left behind restoration, transformation, and confirmation on his donkey ride of death-to-life.

What are we leaving in our wake as we journey toward Jerusalem?

I think back on my last week – aid not extended, harsh words unbridled, succor withheld – and am ashamed.

Best instead to throw my cloak on the road, raise up a palm, and shout Hosanna!

As man, he understands.

And as God, he deserves it all.

This Palm Sunday, may you find peace as you journey toward Jerusalem.

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