the Undeniable Thaw

March 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

Plant - 3 “Death and the hells of dereliction and abandonment eat people up, exhaust them, scrape them out, and bring them to nothing. Jesus is already empty, already poor, already nothing, for God is everything in him; and so the inexhaustible life of God meets death and eats it up and exhausts it.”Rowan Williams, A Ray of Hope

This has been one of the coldest winters on record for Maryland, a season that has repeatedly flirted with our hopes, offering a few warm moments and days, only to remind us of its presence, with arctic blasts, day-long snows and gray skies. Being from Florida we generally greet the snow with excitement and fresh wonder. But winters like this are exhausting. One can only shovel so much snow and spread so much salt before wondering if it will ever end.

But it will.

This past fall I buried over 140 bulbs in the front of our town home. Until we moved north, I thought bulbs were the old version of Christmas tree lights, and that ‘football’ and ‘hurricane’ were the only valid seasons. But when it comes to gardening, bulbs are these agricultural knots of root and dirt, that when left in the ground to endure the cold of winter, yield beautiful flowers in the spring.

Amazingly, after months of frigid temperatures, hard-as-concrete frozen ground, and layers of snow, they have begun to emerge from the dirt.

Spring is something we cling to on cold, long winter days. When the thaw comes, we rediscover that God has designed hints of the life and beauty He always intended for Creation.

With the approach of Easter comes the celebration of Jesus’ conquest over the grave. Because of the resurrection we don’t have to pass over Christ’s pain – or ours. We can feel sorrow as it affects us and others. We don’t have to pretend that disappointment doesn’t wound and that death doesn’t devastate.

They do. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

In his own retelling of the redemption story, Solomon puts this to verse, singing, ‘My beloved speaks and says to me: ‘Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.’” (Song of Solomon 2:10-12).

Friends, in a broken world pain, disappointment and sorrow will be our realities until Jesus comes.

Terms like ‘resurrection’ and ‘renewal,’ though beautiful – and real – are hard to capture in the midst of life and pain. When our worlds come crashing in around us, they can seem hollow and unhelpful.

No, what sustains us is love, and in Jesus, we are the Father’s beloved.

this is our good news…

peace.

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