Spring is in the air.
Of course, I write this in the middle of a whiteout snowstorm that is threatening to dump as much as a foot of snow on the beleaguered upstate NY region. My co-workers find my optimism cute and amusing. ‘I think the poor Californian vicar has finally lost it….’ But I stand by my pronouncement. Spring is in the air; you can feel it. There’s a difference in the air now. The bitter suffocating cold that blanketed the area for the past two months is loosening its grip. In the icy wind, there is a subtle hint of warmth. Once a week now, the temperatures even lean towards forty before quickly plummeting back to the teens.
The past couple weeks have been busy with planning for Lent. I’ve always loved Lent, and one of my favorite things about it is the contrasts it involves. As we march towards the cross, the texts become more optimistic. Nicodemus approaches Jesus at night; then Jesus meets the woman at the well in the middle of the day. Jesus brings sight to a blind man; Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. We’re moving to the somberness of Good Friday, but the texts steadily remind us that there is life after the cross. The weather always seems to mirror the texts. In the depths of the darkness of this season, a brilliant spring day reminds me that the grave is not the end. The empty tomb follows the cross, spring follows winter, Easter follows Lent. There is a pattern to this world, and that pattern leans towards life.