Hope to Carry On: March 29, 2024 (Good Friday)

Lenten Devotional Book 2024

Read: Hebrews 10:16-25

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful…” – Hebrews 10:23

My plans for New Year’s Eve 2023 involved putting my bullet journal together and watching TikTok or YouTube videos. Instead of doing that, I spent the evening crying after finding out that Julie, one of my “Montana moms” had passed away. She had been one of the people I was closest to during my former husband Jon’s pastorate in Montana, and she was one of the people who dropped everything to make sure Jon and I were cared for when Daniel was born prematurely. She and her husband John were at the hospital with me the day after Daniel was born when I was trying to come to terms with his birth and the trauma of what had happened. When another parishioner decided to call me and yell at me for daring to go home from the hospital for a night to gather my wits after spending six days inpatient because I almost died, Julie was one of the people who rose to my defense and kept that person from getting near me until Daniel was finally able to come home two months later. I haven’t been able to return to Montana since I moved away almost 14 years ago, but Julie and I kept in touch over Facebook, email, and through cards. Her passing hit me hard, and I am a month into coping with my grief as I am writing this. Unless you happened to see my Facebook post on New Year’s Eve asking for prayer for her family, you would not know that I am dealing with this because I have been grieving very quietly.

The epistle reading for today, Hebrews 10:16-25 talks about how God remembers our sin no more and exhorts us to spur each other on to good works and not neglect to meet together… but verse 23 was what stood out to me as I thought about what brings me hope from the passage. I have talked in past Good Friday pieces since 2018 about how the Cross is our good news, how this is where the rubber meets the road in terms of my faith, that all is lost if I do not believe that Jesus dying on the Cross meant that death is not the final answer, and I am here to tell you that I still need people to remind me of all of these things. I need the reminder that God is faithful and that I will see Julie again. I need the reminder that God’s Son died on Good Friday, and this means that our God understands grief. In the meantime, I am clinging to the hope that the spasms of grief that pop up at inopportune times are going to subside one of these days.

Lord Jesus Christ, by your death you took away the sting of death: Grant to us your servants so to follow in faith where you have led the way, that we may at length fall asleep peacefully in you and wake up in your likeness; for your tender mercies’ sake. Amen. (BCP, p. 504)
-Jen McCabe