Spring: A Promise of Life from Death
Spring is always a season of promise as cold winter winds cease and brown lands become green. For me, green has always held the promise of new life growing out of the still brown deadness of earth. This year is no exception; but even as winter fades and spring emerges, the seasons themselves are overlapping in unusual ways. One day temperatures soar and on the next we have cold rain. While this is not unusual, it’s of longer duration this year. Is this a metaphor of delayed rebirth or is it simply the result of massive unsettled global weather patterns?
The mood of the world greatly reflects this instability, as does life in Israel. It’s often the contrast between the profusion of new life seen in grass-covered desert hills and the bright profusion of flowers gracing the roadsides. Underneath the grasses, deserts remain dry, grass quickly fades, and refuse lurks beneath flowers that briefly bloom and swiftly wilt.
This is a time when terror stalks the subways, streets, airports and shopping malls of our cities and towns. Whether in Jerusalem, Gaza, Brussels, Bombay, or New York, no one is exempt from the threat of lethal violence. We face daily challenges each time we open ourselves to truly hear and see the world in which we live.
This is also the season when we remember great deliverance and glorious resurrection. Passover is about deliverance from oppression and slavery. It is also the beginning of a new way of life - a very long journey through the desert. Easter is the season of resurrection and victory over death. It is also about life emerging from death through pain and astonishing sacrifice. Both festivals celebrate freedom. Their message and their final goal are the same as is the manner of accomplishment. It has often been said there is no gain without pain. The greater the pain, the greater the gain seems also to be true. Through the seasons’ continual shift and change there remains a hope and a promise. Life rises from the dead, slavery ends and long journeys reach their destinations. Green grass will cover barren hills and spring flowers will bloom again.
Today is the season to choose to hold to the hope of spring, even if cold rains continue to unseasonably fall. As we celebrate the deliverance of Passover and the resurrection life of Easter, our task is to remember the One who rose from death and hell, alive in a newness that promised endless life to all who would choose him and embrace the journey yet to follow – the journey that traverses many deserts in winters and in springs. This present season holds the sure promise of new life emerging from death. We today can choose to walk with eyes focused on the end point, not denying the constant threat and presence of death, but with our focus on our ever-living hope.