Today is predicted a sunny day – a beautiful image of the power of resurrection. With each lingering blast of arctic air maintaining the chill of winter, I can feel the level of anxiety rise within and around me. We grow weary, around these parts, of putting our coats on, keeping our windows shut, not being able to go outside. We grow weary, but we do not doubt that no matter how long winter may keep her icy grip, we know…. We have no doubt, spring will come and summer will follow, bringing a whole new life cycle into our world; into our life.
In the C.S. Lewis’ fantasy classics, “The Chronicles of Narnia”, when we are first introduced to this land that lies beyond the closet, it is described as always being winter, and no Christmas. There is a curse on the land ever since the white witch has seized control of the land.
The author captures us, who live in a climate where winter kills everything. As winter grows, the landscape sinks into a deep sleep, the trees stand barren amidst the dark cold winter nights, and our neighbors are rarely seen and never spoken to for three months. It would be quite the nightmare, would it not? If there came a time when winter arrived to never leave? If our windows remained shut, our coats remained on, our bones ached, and our neighbors invisible all YEAR LONG! I know there are remote places upon this earth, where this dark fictional tale, is reality, where the earth remains frozen and the air icy all the time, which is why few to no people make their home there. Our creator knows, with every winter, there must be spring. With every dying – there must be a new living.
We share a common confidence, that regardless of how stubborn winter is being, our assurance that spring will surely come, is not daunted. We know that is how it works. But, we also share a common anxiety that when the dying seasons, the cold times, the vulnerable, sick, and frightened times, the old things passing away seasons come, we are all gripped with the fear and doubt, that life, new and vibrant, will never come back. We are all afraid to die. Because we are all afraid that death brings the end.
When Jesus came upon his good friend, Martha, whose brother had just died, She bore the same sorrow and lament you and I have, the grip and sadness of death has a way of making us feel, it will always be this way. New life, new ways, new adventures, new acquaintances, second, third, and fourth chances will never come. Winter is here…and it will never go away.
But we know… we have seen it year after year after year, the resurrection always comes. The buried bulbs break forth in color. The neighbors come out and exchange greetings. The air grows soft and warm. The song of the birds break each morning. We know that the season of winter comes in due time, and the season passes in due time, life begets death begets life. It is how God created. Death is not a tomb, it is a womb, from which new life always breaks forth.
I know the weariness of prolonged winters – times when lonliness, sickness, sadness, fear – have us convinced that they will be our companions forever. But the message of Easter rings out with exuberance and persistence – have faith, and re-joice. Our God is a God of life, every morning is new. There is an end to the valley and shadow of death, but there is no end to life. It is eternal. Just look around you and see: winter is passing – and new life is springing forth all around us.
Amen. And Blessed Easter.