All hope is gone. The words are haunting and hard to hear. There is a bleakness to the phrase that language cannot really describe. The drop D tuning of the guitar drives the eerie despair of those words. All hope is gone. The finality of the words are crushing. If there isn’t hope for something, what is the point? As I have listened to this song over and over again the past few days, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is a perfect Maundy Thursday/Good Friday song.
The disciples do not yet really know who Jesus is. Yes they have acknowledged him as teacher, Lord, and Messiah but they just don’t know what that means. Over and over again in the Gospel accounts we see Jesus explaining his path to the cross and the disciples not understanding. They simply cannot fathom what Jesus means with all his I-must-die-and-be-raised-from-the-dead talk. After all, it certainly wasn’t what they were expecting and is not how they had interpreted prophesies of the long-awaited Messiah anyway. Regardless of who exactly the disciples thought Jesus was, they certainly didn’t expect him to die. Jesus’ death would mean that all hope is gone. All hope they had of rising against their Roman oppressors, all hope of restoring the promised land, all hope of freedom for the Hebrew people, gone. All gone. All hope is gone.
And of course we know what happens. Jesus has a final meal with his closest disciples during which Peter displays once more his misunderstanding of Jesus’ messianic purpose. Shortly thereafter, he is arrested, put on mock trial, and on Good Friday crucified – the ultimate form of humiliating punishment at the hands of the Romans. In the eyes of the disciples all hope is now gone. And if they don’t lay low, they are likely to be next. What were they to do now? Perhaps the Pharisees were right all along. Maybe Jesus was a fraud. The hope of the disciples is gone. And for the moment, the hope of the whole world is gone. For a matter of hours, violence, oppression, death and evil has won. All hope is gone…….but only for a fleeting moment.
Death does not have the last say and the empty tomb restores in an instant the hope that was lost. Resurrection is the once and for all answer. But we aren’t there yet. So tonight and tomorrow we sit in the darkness of lost hope and in the stillness of stripped sanctuaries.