LENTEN HOPE ...
Today is a day I have been longing for for at least a month. The church bells are playing, the sun is shining, the temperature is rising, and I can see bits of grass under mounds of snow. In some ways, the dreariness of winter has been most appropriate. We are in Lent after all, so the feeling of weariness seems appropriate. Any hint of spring would only tease us into a sense of relaxation – something we do not associate with Lent. And yet, today feels like a little taste of Easter – a promise of what is to come in just a few short weeks. For some reason, I really needed that taste today.
Of course, we always live our lives in a state of “already and not yet.” As Christians we understand that the kingdom of God is already present and not yet fulfilled. We live in a strange state of in between – of knowing that the Savior has come, and yet a time of waiting for the return of the Messiah. It is an odd reality, and yet how we also understand this odd time.
Lent can be that way too. We already know what happens after the crucifixion of Jesus. Therefore staying in the moment, staying in the state of repentance and thoughtfulness about our sin feels contrived or forced – like pretending those birds aren’t chirping when we clearly hear them. But that is also the beauty of Lent. In fact, I think that is why we can experience Lent at all. How else could we agree to delve into the depths of our sinfulness, our separation from God and others, without the promise of the Resurrection. The Resurrection does not excuse us – it simply anchors us so that we can do the hard work that we need to do during Lent.
So today, I will breathe in the little promise of Easter. I thank God for the gift of sun on my face and the trickle of melting snow. And then I will get back to Lent with a little more energy and hopefulness.