Friday, March 23, 2018
This week’s shift into spring hasn’t brought quite the warmth I’m dreaming of, but I remind myself that every year I must remind myself of this: the vernal equinox is really about the balance of darkness and light, not a spike in pastel-inspiring temperatures just to suit my done-with-winter mentality. The start of spring is only the start of a process because certainly on this side of the Equator – especially in these northern parts of the northern hemisphere – the earth needs time to warm; to break free at its own pace from the weight of winter, and ease both plants and people back into a time of beautiful new growth.
As if on cue, and as though it might pre-empt any impatient whining about our first day of spring, we weren’t far into Tuesday when a radio interview brought me some great new learning: the first day of spring to me is the first day of the new year in the Persian calendar. I had no idea, but now I love the idea of a new year that coincides with a time of equal hours of day and night. What better way to begin a time of fresh beginnings than with the earth’s reminder that there can and will be balance, at least in some form. From there, light grows and expands, and in that we are incrementally strengthened and prepared for a time of increasing darkness… for this, too will come again; and then greater light will return in its own turn.
For our civic calendar, things don’t work quite so neatly, but you likely know already what I’m about to say for the Christian calendar. Even though we mark a liturgical new year at Advent, our spiritual new year takes flight in the celebration of Easter. Others may disagree on technicality, but I’m content to say that for me. Easter is such an extraordinary time, incomparable really, when we are not only surrounded by growing signs of creation’s re-birth, but we’re gifted with a profound, unique invitation to spiritual re-birth; to our soul’s re-awakening into the unstoppable light of Love, as I know it most clearly in Jesus.
Those who have taken my annual Lenten quiz (not as scary as it sounds) will remember there are plenty of historical reasons Easter coincides with spring. Some of those were about social survival in an early, non-Christian-friendly environment; others have direct correlation to Passover and the feast Jesus celebrated on the night before his death. I understand some more than others, but in the midst of that list, I’m still grateful for this northern hemisphere reality that helps Easter to align with our spring. I don’t worship the weather, but I do praise and lift up every kind of reminder that God draws forth new life. Again and again, in every season of our lives, God is pouring out all we need to see the coming dawn; to wait with patient confidence that God waits with us, as both seasonal and metaphorical times of darkness eventually fade against the freeing power of life-renewing Light – and it’s hard to think of anything more beautiful than that.
With love to you all,
“Behold, behold, I make all things new, beginning with you and starting from today.
Behold, behold, I make all things new, my promise is true, for I am Christ the way.” (John L. Bell)