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The Lenten/Easter season seems to encapsulate the entire yearlong journey in a short span of days. The dying and rising cycle of the earth that take twelve months is pushed into seven weeks and leads us metaphorically through the stripping away, the fallow time, the new seeds planed and the buds opening to new life. The Have mercy on me, O God gives way to shouts of Alleluia!
At Bethany this year we are keenly feeling the stripping away and the impending fallow time. We are finding it much harder to imagine resurrection, caught as we are in the midst of our own dying. As we move through the process of embracing our final days as a congregation, it can be difficult to anticipate Easter joy. As I stare at the empty, stripped away altar of Maundy Thursday, I feel a tightening in my throat. Soon it will stand empty for some time before new life graces this space.
But as we trust in the bleak mid-winter that God will once again break through the hard ground to make space for new creation, we must also trust in the work of the Spirit that even now is quickening the desire to birth a new ministry in this place in the heart and mind of the pastor who will be called to serve here. Even now, each of our own hearts is stirring both with sadness of what will die and anticipation of what might be birthed in our own journey of faith.
Life upon this earth is an endless series of dyings and risings, of surrendering the old and opening to the new. May we join our laments with Jesus on the cross, and also listen for the whispers of possibility with which God will amaze us in the days ahead.
Blessed Easter to us all.