Gathered round the table for dinner in our safe and comfortable kitchen we reeled at the newsreels from Brussels and my wife asked, “When will it end?” New York, London, Beirut, Paris, Brussels … when will it end?
Silence followed. Does anyone want to hear the inexorable answer?
Then the eldest among us, a survivor of the second world war, an observer of Korea, Vietnam, Ireland and Lockerbie, said, “Never”. All hope gone of ever seeing an end.
Whilst most of us try and float in peaceful and (relatively) prosperous bubbles, ones which allow us the fantasy of an ever-improving world, the journalists prick those bubbles with constant reminders of man’s inhumanity to man. The depressing truth, despite our denials, is that man has no feasible plan for or power to deliver an alternative, desirable, future.
Elusive politicians make their promises, angry generals promise to bomb, greedy marketeers bombard us with illusions. But none can quench the deep, deep thirst of our generation for a better future. None can and none ever will. If history teaches us anything, it teaches us that. And we know that left to our own devices, the answer is always going to be, “It will never end.”
But who can speak the truth and who can offer genuine hope?
The Easter weekend is a time of lost hope, unremitting pain, and the death of people and dreams. We are left with an appalling legacy of a brutalised body buried in a dark tomb. “Is this the end?” the followers asked themselves. An end to their dreams which meant no end to their fears of life under occupation.
But out of the darkness, angelic messengers in gleaming white come and point into the future, “Why look for the living among the dead? He has gone ahead” they said.
There is one who can speak with authority and power, the one who has been where it is darkest and who has emerged in blinding light to promise a new heaven and a new earth, where, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4).
When will it end? When He ends it. When the good judge rights every wrong and restores every broken thing. When the Lord of life calls time. So there is hope and we can lift our despondent faces from our dinner plates and rejoice that neither Brussels nor Syria nor Good Friday are the end but that there will be an end and that the sun will rise on Sunday before we know it.