Everything Has Become New
When anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away;
see, everything has become new!
II Corinthians 5:17
Easter is early this year. I feel as if it is sneaking up on me. The normal natural clues that prepare us for Easter are missing. As I write this, we are looking back on two weeks when snowstorms canceled church, and we are looking ahead to more snow predicted for Sunday.
An early Easter means there won’t be as many flowers blooming. Can we have Easter without flowers? It will be spring, of course, by a little more than a week. But even with the changed weather patterns of global warming, spring still comes sooner on the calendar than does to our New England landscape.
Aesthetically, it is wonderful to have the approach of Easter and the springtime renewal of the earth running parallel to one another. But at least once in a while, it is well to remind ourselves that our celebration as Christians is quite different from the universal enjoyment of spring flowers and new leaves on the trees. Perhaps this year we can be less distracted.
Easter may be hard to imagine, but the evidence of Good Friday is all around us. In the words of the Easter hymn, the winter of our sins remains long and dark. The fighting continues in Afghanistan. The attacks and counterattacks between Israel and Palestine have escalated to the point where peace seems a distant dream. The folks who gather at Christ’s Community Kitchen, or come to the food pantry remind us that poverty and hunger are not just third world problems. Homelessness in Rhode Island is growing.
Heaven knows, it looks like a Good Friday world. And that appearance is never more evident than in the bleak days of late winter. The bare trees and the frozen snow are appropriate reminders of a world in which there is often too much suffering and too little comfort. We know that personally, and we know that globally.
We can tell ourselves that in a few weeks we will feel better. It will be less depressing when there are flowers and leaves and warm sunshine. But Easter is not about forgetting the world or feeling happier. It happens (impossibly and unbelievably) at the very center of our Good Friday world. Love overcomes hatred, reconciliation overcomes alienation, liberation overcomes oppression, joy overcomes pain, and life overcomes death-- even in the deepest winter of our souls.
I hope Easter will be an amazing gift for you this year. I hope it will stop you short and take your breath away.
Give yourself a special Easter gift in this not-quite-spring, make worship a priority. First, share in the darkness with a Tenebrae service on Maundy Thursday (March 28) at 7:30 p.m. We also have a Good Friday walk, beginning at noon at the Lutheran Church. Then on Easter morning, we will gather for a Sunrise Service at Sandy Point at 6:00 a.m. and we will have worship at 8:30 and 10:00 a.m.
See you in church.