Lent: Inside hope

Three crosses on Mount Calvary at sunset (photo: Jill Fromer) BBC Radio 4's Sunday Worship and Local Radio make six journeys Inside Lent

Inside hope - 13th April 2014

Hope needs some foundation if it is not to be mere optimism. That is why we talk of having "grounds for hope".

There is no more debilitating human condition than that of hopeless despair. Nor is there any greater exhilaration than when a glimmer of hope flickers in the darkness.

Exercises and Readings

  • Take 10 minutes to relax and imagine you are in the crowd as Jesus enters Jerusalem. What can you see and hear? What does it feel like inside?
  • Can you imagine what Jesus disciples were feeling as they came into Jerusalem?
  • How do you understand the 'living hope' in the reading from the First Letter of Peter?
  • Take 10 minutes to remember a time when you felt real despair or hope and describe it to someone else or write it down for further reflection. What have you learned from that experience?
  • Reflect on one thing for which you hope today?

The sick patient who learns that the cancer treatment is working finds that with hope comes new energy.

Unemployed people hearing new businesses are being set up find that with hope of work comes fresh motivation.

To those in the depths of despair hope has to come from outside themselves. For the victims of a destructive hurricane the promise of help gives them hope and hope keeps them alive when, otherwise, despair could be lethal.

Martin Luther wrote that "everything that is done in the world is done by hope". He understood that hope is no mere emotion but is a carrier of such energy and motivation that it fuels vision and an imagined new future.


Jesus enters Jerusalem to shouts of acclamation in the heady atmosphere of an excitable crowd. Already there were cries of the 'King who comes in the name of the Lord'.

No wonder the authorities told Jesus to keep his followers quiet. This was inflammatory language, the pent up hope of a people under Roman rule. Jesus' followers must have begun to hope that maybe their time had come.

But Jesus had already warned them to beware when everyone thinks well of you!

Hope for Jesus was not based on what people thought of him but founded on his faith that God would not abandon him. He saw, as the prophets had seen before him, that God had been with Abraham on his journey of faith and called Moses out of Egypt delivering the people from slavery and death.

God had never abandoned his people. The foundation of Jesus' hope was his faith born from what he had already seen of the mercy and love of God.

Whether that hope would be vindicated time would tell.

For now, remember the words of Martin Luther king: "We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope."


Lord Jesus Christ, you ate with the powerful and the poor; you called the sick to your side and sinners into your company.

In the light of your life nurture our hope that with you we may meet whatever comes with fortitude, patience and joy; and in all things give you thanks and praise.

More from the Inside Lent series...

Find out more about your nearest BBC local radio station and BBC Radio 4 Sunday Worship.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


BBC iPlayer
  • Sian WilliamsSunday Morning Live

    Globetrotter and occasional lumberjack Michael Palin talks about his life - and The Life of Brian

Get Inspired


More Activities >

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.