A Great Sea Change

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracle
And cures and healing wells.

Call miracle self-healing:
The utter, self-revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
Or lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky

That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.


from The Cure at Troy

Seamus Heaney

This Sunday, Palm Sunday,  the great drama begins. We walk into Jerusalem with all our adolescent hopes and dreams.  With all these people screaming and shouting, what could go wrong?  And then it unwinds and we find ourselves undone.  The expected future has dissolved. As the poet says “like salt in a weakened broth.”  Then we are left with the almost undoable human act—to hope without any power to make that hope come true.

Holy week is the great drama of reversal. We act out the truth that to get to new life,  the hoped-for life, something has to die and that something is in us.  I keep thinking if only those people would change, the world would be so much better off. But I am not a spectator in this thing called life but a participant, a fellow traveler, a sinner in need of redemption.

So, this year as we walk into Jerusalem on Sunday, I am hoping my heart opens up to the drama that is coming.  I am hoping that God gives me the courage to move to Calvary so that the small skeptic inside me can be put to death and hope can be born again. I want to believe in “a great sea-change/On the far side of revenge.” I want to “Believe that further shore/Is reachable from here.” I want to “Believe in miracle/And cures and healing wells.”

I don’t want only to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection; I want for me and this broken world to be resurrected.  Resurrection is God’s job. Hope is my job. May I—and you—have the strength and faith to be about it.