This morning at first light a bird was singing its heart out just outside my window. The thermostat said 18 degrees. The frost was heavy. And this after a couple of weeks of real winter. This bird had no way of knowing that there are record low temperatures for this date all over the eastern half of the country, that snow is deep in many places, that we have been in a record deep freeze.
But this bird knew something. The day was dawning, and beyond the day, spring is just around the corner. I saw a crocus breaking through the cold ground the other day. The forecast calls for moderating temperatures in the next few days. The days are getting longer, and Saturday evening-Sunday morning we “spring forward” on the clock. (Don’t forget!) Yes, spring is coming.
The word “Lent” means “spring.” So even as we focus on our mortality and sinfulness on Ash Wednesday, even as Lent is a season for acknowledging the truth about our own sins and failures, it is also a time for new life. Lent is NOT a time to wallow in our brokenness, but to acknowledge it and seek the healing and wholeness that God has made possible for us through Christ. And, at the end of it, after those intense days of Holy Week, we will sing and shout for joy when Christ springs forth from the tomb. The Lenten journey is a journey of deepening our spiritual being, growing in faith, and preparing for the celebration that is Easter with ever-new vitality.
Last Sunday evening we celebrated “Winterpalooza,” another reminder that there is life and energy among us. I walked into the gym to find a giant, inflatable, playground. Kids were running excitedly from one to another, climbing, slithering, and sliding and whooping it up all the while. And, wait…who are those big kids…the ones we thought were adults, having even more fun than the kids?!
In the Faith Classroom were other adults, taking a break from bingo to munch on pizza, alongside kids and families. It was another great intergenerational event, when folks of all ages from all three services joined in a celebration of church family…and to welcome folks from our community, neighbors we didn’t know, into our building and church life.
This Sunday we continue the Lenten journey and our emphasis on covenant. Did you ever connect the Ten Commandments with God’s covenant with the people? We’ll see Sunday that there is a connection, and perhaps find there is more life, joy, and promise in the commandments than we realized. Alongside the Ten Commandments, we’ll consider what Jesus said was the greatest of the commandments. (If you’re reading From Rainbow to Resurrection devotionals, you’ll read these before Sunday. (Exodus 20:1-17 and Mark 12:28-34).
Hope to see you Sunday as we move along together on the Lenten journey,