All four readings speak of victory after long struggle – over enemies in battle or persecution or even the oldest enemy of all, death. The battle demands endurance and perseverance, even if the battle is simply the battle of getting out of bed each day. These readings recognise our need for hope in the midst of battle – the conviction that things will be better, that the striving and the struggle will be worth it, that we’re not alone in the fight.
The flipside of this hope is vulnerability. To embark on a journey, to engage in a battle, to live a life, requires us at some point to admit that we cannot do it all alone or unaided. Put more positively, vulnerability properly acknowledged can lead us to seek true community – companions for the way who we can trust with our lives.
To illustrate, I’d like to tell you about the Ood. They’re a fictional race from the Dr Who TV series, who, apart from looking strange, have no history of warfare. It transpires that the reason for their peaceful past is that they are not only telepathic, but that they carry part of their brain in their hands. Their vulnerability leads them to trust one another for their very survival.
Where might we be more vulnerable and find true community? What part of ourselves might we be willing to carry more openly, trusting in the care of our companions on the way?