Greetings family of faith!
As I write this, it is the first day of Spring! Behind Fall, Spring is my second-favorite season. There is something powerful as the seasonal calendar and church calendar coincide this time of year. Just as the earth is beginning to renew itself after a long winter, so also the seasons of Lent and Easter are a time of spiritual renewal. As we’ve been talking about in our Lenten series, “Cultivating and Letting Go,” now is the time for letting go of what doesn’t serve us, of letting go of all that hinders our growth as disciples of Christ.
As we let go, there is more room for God to work and dig around in the soil of our hearts. Who knows what will be unearthed? Or what new growth will take place! Yes, Spring is a time of anticipation.
In the words of a recent Sunday prayer, “We rejoice that one season always gives way to another; that our winters are not forever, nor are the days of scorching sun.” This refers not just to literal seasons, but also the seasons of our lives. If we are going through a difficult season, we can take to heart that “our winters are not forever, nor are the days of scorching sun.” It is a statement of faith that God will deliver us and guide us in whatever circumstances come our way.
As we journey through Lent and anticipate Easter, nature itself reminds us of the story of Holy Week. The story of new life springing forth from death… the plants dormant in the ground spring to life again, and the grass that was once brown turns a bright shade of green. Likewise, when faith and hope and life seem dead and gone on Good Friday… on the third day there is wondrous surprise, joy, resurrected life, and hope restored!
We have certainly had a LONG winter this year, and maybe that is what makes a new season all the more glorious. After the long, grey days and biting cold and piles of snow… we are ready to welcome the sunnier days, walks in the park, planting gardens, and enjoying all that nature has to offer. Sometimes life itself can feel like a long winter… whenever we are facing hard times or dealing with challenges. We may wonder when this chapter will be over, or if the sun will ever come out again.
As we journey through Lent, we are reminded that it is a walk to the cross. There is no Easter without the cross. We sometimes find ourselves in despair… just as Jesus and the disciples must have. No one really wished for the experience of the cross! In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” (Matt. 26:39) Yet Jesus did not flee or turn away from suffering, but entered more deeply into it.
As we face our own sufferings, we can take heart that we have a Savior who has been down that road. And while we may not yet be able to see the end of whatever we are going through, we do not lose heart because we know the story of Easter. We know the story of the victory of our Lord. Death and decay and sorrow and pain are swallowed up in victory. And we are the recipients of new life!
There is a new day coming… and much like a Spring day, we stand in anticipation of it. Blessings on your Lenten and Easter journey!