Monday, April 14, 2014

Losing Heart (Holy Wednesday)

Holy Wednesday

Have any of you ever had a mentor whom you long looked up to suddenly grow weary and lose heart?  Maybe you were invested in a cause earlier in life when someone praiseworthy who was heavily involved with it became disillusioned.  Shortly after, you found that your own fire died. No more all-night conversations, no more lobbying, no more passion. To your surprise, your faith in the cause was inextricably bound with the faith of this other person whom you admired.  When he or she lost hope, you came tumbling after.  

Or maybe you’re someone who’s seen those around you grow weary and lose heart, and still you remain. Maybe you’ve weathered these storms and have stayed the course. You’ve continued to run with perseverance, laying aside these weights and pains. You’ve witnessed these disappointments and yet continue to fight the good fight.

I once heard an interview with Bono--the lead singer of U2--about the meaning of his song, “Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own." He said that his father was a man of great faith in Christ until he reached the very end of his life. On his deathbed his faith began to waver. He began to question the basics that he had believed in and lived by so firmly for his whole life. Listening to the interview you could tell that Bono was somewhat shaken by this. You could tell that despite Bono’s firm faith--and he continues to say that it’s quite firm--he was rattled. Whether it be faith in an idea, a cause, or in Christ, watching someone you deeply admire lose heart and grow weary can be crippling.

The author of this evening’s epistle lesson from the letter to the Hebrews is aware of some in the early Christian movement who had lost heart and grown weary.  He writes to people who have given up all kinds of things to follow the risen Jesus. People who were not very popular.  People who had gotten behind a cause--no, a person--that I’m sure many of their friends thought was crazy.  Some of these people were tempted to give in, to throw in the towel.  Maybe they were tempted by the lusts of this world, maybe what had seemed so true at first just didn’t any longer, maybe they simply burned out.  Their once true and lively faith had gotten away from them.