Looking Forward in Hope
by Pam Smith
April 2, Maundy Thursday – Psalms 102, 142, 143; Jeremiah 20:7-11; 1 Corinthians 10:14-17; 11:27-32; John 17:1-11(12-26)
Study Bible note: Singing this song equips the eye of faith to see God’s ultimate purposes for the whole people of God and to look forward to participation in that blessedness
As I pondered the scripture appointed for today, I was reminded of the phrase “existential threat” so prevalent in the news these days. Our president tells us that the Islamic extremist army ISIL marauding through Syria and Iraq, killing, stealing, and destroying is “not an existential threat.” Israel’s Prime Minister tells us that Iran, Hamas, and all its neighboring countries “are an existential threat.” Every day news reports tell of another genocide or another Middle Eastern or African country descending into violence and civil war, Sunni and Shia factions of Islam perceiving the other to be an existential threat. Our naked human eye sees evil overcoming good, and we say to each other, “The world is on fire!”
But the children of Jehovah God in ancient days sang Psalms that ‘equip the eye of faith to see God’s ultimate purposes for the whole people of God and to look forward to participation in that blessedness. “ So say the authors of a study note in the ESV Bible. Psalm 102 reminds us that evil has always threatened the survival of good. But the psalmist reminds us that the Creator of the heavens and foundations of the earth has no end, and “The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.” Jeremiah reminds that that the Lord is with us as a “dread warrior,” and the enemies of God’s people will not succeed.
Jesus in his closing prayer at the Last Supper recalled God’s promise that all whom God claims as his own, (the ancient children of Israel, now the disciples on Maundy Thursday), have eternal life and “eternal life is to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Two millennia later, Coptic Christians in Libya died uttering the name of Jesus Christ, as the world watched their beheadings by ISIL terrorists. They gazed upon their enemies with eyes of faith. The Psalmist reminds us that God’s ultimate purpose is to be known and feared by all nations of the world and that he hears the prayers of the faithful.
So let us gaze upon the burning world with eyes of faith, Let us pray for the innocent who suffer in faith at the hands of evil ones, calling on God, the “dread warrior,” to fight for them and to strengthen them to bring glory to his name. Let us pray that the one true God will be glorified in the midst of the battle of good and evil. Let us remember that God is in control and the battle has already been won. Let us give thanks that those who are God’s own children need not fear existential threats for we have received the promise of eternal life. Let us celebrate Holy Week and Easter with this certain knowledge.