Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you”. After he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As I have been sent, even so I send you”. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, “Receive the Holy Spirit”. (John 20: 19 – 22)
“Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies”. That is the advice prisoner Andy Dufresne, the main character in Stephen King’s short story Shawshank Redemption, offers his inmate friend in a letter Andy leaves for Red the night he escapes from Shawshank Prison.
After spending most of his life in prison, Red isn’t big on hope – doesn’t even understand what it means. But when he is finally released from Shawshank and heads on a bus to meet up with his friend Andy in a remote Mexican village, Red Says: “I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope”.
Hope is what keeps us alive and faithful. It is the first step in any awakening or renewal. Hope carried Jesus’ disciples through the dark days after his death. Then, through the power of the Holy Spirit, they and all of us disciples of Christ were given the unending hope that it is possible to know the truth. And this truth will set us free whatever imprisons us.