In the traditional Christian church calendar (the western version), we are in the season of Eastertide. This season begins with Easter Sunday and continues through Ascension Day (celebrated this year on May 30th) and then Pentecost Sunday, which falls this year on June 9th. Eastertide takes place in springtime in the northern hemisphere. The commemoration of Jesus' resurrection coincides with the resurrection of nature out of the death of winter.
As I pointed out in last month's SJFT post, I live in a place where we don't experience a cold winter. I mean, it feels cold to us; maybe it gets into the sixties some nights. But we don't go through the death, weather-wise, so the resurrection is less dramatic.
The truth of the matter is that our inner weather may often be completely different from the weather outside, anyway. If you live in the tropics and have year-round perfect weather, that doesn't necessarily translate into year-round joy and delight (though it is much easier for me to be cheerful when I'm warm and the sun is shining).
The spirit of spring is the spirit of resurrection, and resurrection only comes after death. As I was meditating on this post, I remembered something a friend, Corrigan Clay, wrote after the earthquake. I asked him then if I could share it on my blog, and he gave me his permission. Here's the original post, with his photo, from 2010. The first words are quoted from the Bible, the book of Ezekiel.
"I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, "Son of Man, can these bones live?"As we live on this earth, we are surrounded by death. Right now many of us are overwhelmed with what I recently learned to call eco-anxiety, as we witness extinctions and the degradation of our environment taking place before our eyes. We see death in many other ways, too: we see people we love dying; we see dreams dying; we see evil winning. If I didn't believe in the resurrection, I wouldn't be able to go on. Because I do believe in it, I can.
Easter is more overwhelmingly awesome in a graveyard than in a shopping mall.
I urge you: Be where the bones are and breathe out all the life you have been given and watch them start to clatter and rattle...
"Behold, I make all things new."
Here are some words Jonathan Martin wrote this year for Easter:
Since this time last year, we've fallen off of some wagons, jumped on to some others. You got a raise or lost the money. You got drunk or sober, married or divorced. People were born, people died. Nothing could stop the rising. Your accomplishments didn’t speed him up, your failure didn’t slow him down. Love got up, in his own sweet time. Death was conquered. Maybe you don’t believe it. So? What you BELIEVE won’t make it more or less true. Resurrection is God's responsibility.Some people will go to Church & be "strangely warmed" today. Some will leave still disillusioned. Either way, THE WHOLE COSMOS CHANGED. Easter is good news for every blade of grass & every nursing home, every animal on a farm & every angry atheist, every cell & grain of sand. Life conquered death & there's not a thing we can do about it. Receive it as gift, doubt it, be wayward or devout-it's happened & happening. Resurrection is not an edict or summons, but an invitation to know the open secret humming beneath all created things-DEATH IS NOT THE END.Prayer: Firstborn of the dead,
we awake this morning to the astonishment of your resurrection. Our hearts have been heavy for too long. Let us be given over now, to the gut-busting joy of new life, unexpected gifts, the surprise of resurrection in the deadest places. We cannot understand how it happens, or what it means. But we do not come to you looking for explanations--we come hungry for joy, ready for awe, desperate for Easter hope. Baptize us in wonder again, risen God. Amen.
"Resurrection is God's responsibility." That's the Spirit of Spring. We can't do a thing to make winter go away, or to bring life from death. But God can.
Visit Carol's blog to see what other participants have written on this topic.