Hope: a different sort of four letter word?

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At the time of writing, a rather grey Easter Sunday has dawned. Most have pleasant activities planned, activities fitting for a pleasant day. Easter is rarely associated with anything particularly profound. It is a good opportunity to gather with friends and family but generally passes with little more than a fleeting hurrah of chocolate eggs, rabbits, and the occasional controversial Tesco ad.

The lack of profundity with which we associate Easter is somewhat ironic considering the Easter story (if you don’t know it, pro tip: check out the gospels.) Regardless, there is a certain sense of hope which seems to renew itself at this time of year.

Naturally, there’s something refreshing about experiencing a few hours extra of daylight a day after spending most of the year fumbling around in darkness – the way our semesters are set up often makes it feel that way, as a friend and I discussed a week or so ago. There’s something gorgeous about evening suppers which extinguish late along with pink light especially in juxtaposition with months of chill and night.

Easter represents, if nothing else, a reminder of hope. Hope is a different sort of four letter word. For some reason, it is awkward to say unless it is implicated in some colloquialism. When we say ‘I hope’, we do not engage with the power of the word – we ‘hope’ that our Urban Outfitters order will be delivered, or that the bins will be collected. We undermine the word by treating it casually we make it more palatable. Perhaps this is because the word does not have secular connotations.  Perhaps because it feels awkward to talk about hope in a world in which there seems to be so little of it.

Hope is not only for the faithful. There is hope in beauty, in friendship, in bright mornings. And whatever your theological stance, there is an enormous hope in the story of a man who sacrificed his life for the world out of love.

Even objectively, there is hope in that kind of good, there is example in that kind of humility and sacrifice. Even if you have no faith and have objections to it, there is hope in the conception of this idea alone.

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