It's a few days before "Holy Week" but I'm struggling with Sunday's sermon.
In an earlier post I said I had been in a rather dark time and I was watching for signs of springtime. I meant it in both a literal way and a spiritual way.
This morning as I sipped a cup of coffee I looked out the window and saw a definite tinge of green on the back lawn. A small miracle that happens seemingly overnight! The pussy willow bush is covered with those lovely soft and fuzzy harbingers of spring on the way. Iris shoots are appearing in the flower bed. The sun is shining brightly in a lovely blue sky. Pairs of birds are flitting around the feeders. This morning I saw a new pair--bright yellow goldfinches whose canary-colored wings flashed in the sunlight.
I am dreaming of warmer days and home-grown tomatoes and packing the coats away. But it is still cold outside. There is a sharp northern wind blowing, and the trees are still bare. Looking out the window makes me anticipate warmer days, but stepping out the door is a different matter!
I refuse to wear a hat or gloves. Done. Fini.
What does this have to do with Holy Week?
I know spring is on the way and there is a new lightness in my heart, but it seems so long in coming. I am weary of cold and grey days and bare trees and snow. I want to fling the windows open and air out the closets and dig in the dirt. But...not yet. Sigh.
I feel the same in a spiritual sense. Last Sunday I entered the sanctuary and gazed for a moment at the cross on the back wall with its dark purple drape and the crown of thorns. My heart was sad as we shared communion together. I have a strange mix of anticipation and sadness. I know Jesus is risen...but first I must take time to ponder anew the wondrous mystery of the last days of his life, the miracle of Lazarus, the anointing of Jesus for burial, the upper room and the Master taking the place of a servant (something none of the disciples, apparently, were willing to do) and picking up the basin and the towel. Then the heartbreaking interlude in the garden. The obtuse disciples. How like them I am! Forgive me, dearest Lord.
Then the agonizing betrayal, humiliation piled upon humiliation, Peter's denial, the horrible beating, jeering crowds, standing mute Herod, Pilate washing his hands. Carrying the cross to Golgotha. Weeping women. His mother's agony of mind, body and spirit. Blood, pain, darkness, loneliness, death. The tomb.
Amazing Love! How can it be?
There is no resurrection without death, no joy in the morning without a dark night of the soul. No spring without winter. I know. This is true of my personal life, both physically and spiritually, and my church's life. I see signs of spring, and my heart lifts...but, oh, it seems so very long in coming.
Precious Jesus, thank you for the signs of spring in my life. Thank you for wonderful times of respite like the recent conference. Thank you for sending encouraging people who touch my life along the way. Some briefly, like Lee Grady, and some for a long time, like those who have stood with me and watched and prayed through good times and bad. Bless each one, Lord. Help me faithfully stand. May I wait and watch in the garden with you. May I not grow weary in the tasks before me. May I be faithful in the waiting time, and please grant that I may come to see the fruit of the watching and waiting. The joy of resurrection, new promise, new life, new hope. Amen
As Tony Compolo preached in his wonderful sermon, "It's Friday--But Sunday's Comin'!"