One of the benefits of living in the Midwest is seeing the changing of seasons. Now, I once heard a comedian who preferred Los Angeles say, “We have seasons in California. We just got rid of the ones that suck!” Indeed, this winter sucked. It was long and harsh. Mountains of snow and weeks on end of temperatures below freezing, including many days when windchills were at least 25 below zero. Of course, I had about a two-week reprieve when I went to Sierra Leone, Africa in February. Still. It was a sucky winter.
So, our eyes are peeled for signs of spring. We’re seeing some blossoms and buds on the trees. The snow earlier this week notwithstanding, we’re feeling mild temperatures finally. The gray days seem behind us, and blue skies ahead. The leafless trees will soon be vibrant and full again.
Because there is not much green yet, I noticed something the other day: colorful, plastic eggs hanging from naked tree limbs. Easter decorations, I’m sure. A more recent decorating technique, I think. Hanging colorful eggs from barren maples and oaks — and whatever else we have around here — seems to me like trying to force spring. Tired of the gloominess of winter, these homeowners hang new life, if even fake life, in their yards.
Spring to me is more than just the earth recreating itself. It is evidence of the faithfulness of God, the true Giver of life, the one who makes something out of nothing, the one who brings back to life what was dead. That’s why it is fitting to be celebrating Easter in spring (at least for us in the northern hemisphere).
This week is Passion Week, when we remember the final days of Jesus’ life on earth, when he, like the prophet foretold, would grit his teeth, set his face like stone, and finish his mission of redeeming what was lost (Isaiah ?). Last night at my church we commemorated the Last Supper and tonight we’ll worship on this Good Friday. Tomorrow will be a reflective Holy Saturday gathering. We have focused on the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. But Sunday … oh, Sunday morning we’ll celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, when death was handed its fatal blow.
It’s my favorite day of the year. A day to end the fasts. A day when dancing in church just might be excusable. Now, this Sunday I’m leading on keys, so I’ll probably resemble Jerry Lee Lewis when we break out into Jesus Culture’s “See His Love”: “It is finished / He has done it / Death is beaten / Heaven beckons me.” Easter is a day when we are reminded that Jesus’ resurrection is the firstfruits of the future resurrection of all people, when God recreates everything for good. It’s hard to imagine a world where the sting of death and the curse of sin has been abolished. It’s hard to imagine, but I’ll spend the rest of my life trying. I think it’ll look something like perpetual spring. It won’t be plastic. It won’t be artificial. It’ll be more real than we could have known.
This Easter, I pray God will revive your hearts with the invigorating power of the Spirit who raised Jesus from the death. Worship like there’s no tomorrow. No, change that. Worship like there is a bright, beautiful tomorrow.