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Romans 5:1-5: “Hope does not disappoint us...”
Professor Tom Long tells a story about the civil rights movement, how the Ku Klux Klan would often march down Auburn Avenue, the African-American center of Atlanta. Each time the residents would see the Klan coming, they would draw their shades, lock their doors, and cower in their homes until that parade of evil was over.
But then, in the fullness of time, civil rights started to take hold. Just when the tide was starting to turn, when people could finally see justice on the horizon, the Klan marched once again down Auburn Avenue. But this time the people lifted their window shades, threw open their doors, stood on the sidewalk, and laughed, and laughed, and laughed...
And the Klan never marched down Auburn Avenue again.
Maybe you’ve known people who’ve worked tirelessly for justice and peace, sometimes over a period of decades. The ones who persevere are the ones who bring to their work a sense of lightness and an appreciation for life’s little absurdities. These folks are not beaten down by the discouragement that change comes only in tiny increments, if at all. Instead, they are almost fizzy in their joy. Such is the nature of hope.
Lent has a reputation for being a grim season. Certainly the cross is no laughing matter. But even with its vigorous self-examination in the shadow of the cross, we can’t forget that Lent is moving in the direction of redemption. Let us be detectives for joy in a world that can often be drab and colorless.
Loving Creator, help me take your call to discipleship seriously... which sometimes means taking myself lightly.