Easter Lily“He is risen.” “He is risen indeed!”

On Easter morning, Christians around the world heard the triumphant announcement and responded with well-trained words of hope.

In church, I heard a sermon in which the pastor dropped in “He is risen” repeatedly in his narrative, each time pausing just long enough for a robust congregational response. At first it felt like we were on time delay. The sermon is a time of the worship service where we are accustomed to being passive, to listening, perhaps to letting our minds wander. The pastor waited for us to realize he meant us to respond.

“He is risen.” “He is risen indeed.”

We caught on after that, and we were quicker and more confident in our refrain, no longer startled at the prompt to announce our faith.

This struck me as a picture of hope.

We begin in uncertainty, an unexpected moment, an experience gone wrong.

We are prompted—prodded, even—to believe.

We test it out, wondering if hope is the right response.

We hear ourselves, and the voices ringing us.

We discover we are not alone in either our confusion or in germinating hope.

And at last we believe more firmly, unashamed to let others hear our hope.

In the church year, the season of Resurrection lasts seven weeks. I hope I will use that time to listen for, hear, and call out a more confident persuasive refrain that because Christ is risen, hope binds us together.