March 21, 2019
Spring is my absolutely favorite season. Spring is the time for me when life is renewed. Already the grass is showing, and beginning to grow, along the Centennial Trail across from my home. Pugsley and I enjoy walking on ground now, not on snow.
My favorite flowers are bulb flowers and these bloom in the spring. I was fortunate enough to be in Holland one year during tulip season. I stayed in Harlem and rode the train into Amsterdam past the fields where they grow tulips for flower markets all over Europe. It was beautiful to look at the bands of color out of the train window: red, yellow, pink, white, violet. I was also able to visit the Keukenhof Gardens and see about 7 million bulb flowers including my very favorite, hyacinths which are not only beautiful, but smell lovely as well.
Spring is the time of waking up after the long sleep of winter and thus for me, symbolizes the hope of new life in Jesus' resurrection. I lived in Australia for 2 years and it was hard because the seasons were not linked to the church year as they are in the northern hemisphere. Jesus' birth does not come in the midst of the cold and dark of winter to bring life and light to humanity, but in the blaze of summer. (I remember one Australian movie depicting the stupidity of an aristocratic Australian family who tried to duplicate an English Christmas in Australia by wearing velvet and burning a yule log. They were suffocating in the heat!) In Australia, Easter comes, not in the spring, but in the fall. But, since I now live in the Northern Hemisphere, I choose to link Easter and spring and new life.
One thing I have learned by living in a place with four seasons is that sometimes things look dead, but they aren't really dead. They are hibernating, resting for the next stage of life. Sometimes congregations may seem to be "dead," not exhibiting a lot of signs of life as well. But Easter and spring tell me there is always hope of new life. During February I wasn't sure we were ever going to see spring. Someone wrote on Facebook, "Spring is only 36 days away." I wrote back, "I'll believe it when the snow is no longer covering my patio." As I write today, my patio still has a lot of snow on it, but I am more hopeful that this new life in spring is going to win the day. I am grateful for the snow, as difficult as it makes it for me to go to the places I need to go, because without it we would not have as much water as we do. That water is not only beautiful, but makes the beauty possible.
St. John of Damascus, who died around 780, wrote in his Easter hymn, "Now the queen of seasons, bright." Is he talking about spring or about Easter? Or maybe both? Spring, for me is about new life springing forth. Easter is all about death not having the final word. Easter is all about life triumphing over all. God's life and God's love reign no matter what.
May you have a blessed Easter.