By Steven Norris
Did you hear the news? Spring is here!
I know, I know. Technically, spring showed up a few weeks ago, according to the calendar anyway. I’m pretty sure, however, that spring showed up in my neighborhood this week. The rose bush in my front yard burst forth with life. My neighbor’s azaleas are enough to put a smile on even the most sour of faces. The irises around the corner are enough to bring you to tears. Even the delicate lyre-leaf sage (sometimes called “cancer weed”) is enough to make you bend down to appreciate its tiny, subtle beauty.
This past Sunday, many in our community gathered around television sets and computer screens. With fellow believers around the world, they proclaimed the truth of Easter: Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!
However, Easter is only just beginning. The season of Easter lasts until Pentecost – fifty days to be exact. That’s fifty days that mirror the fifty days Jesus walked the earth between his resurrection and his ascension to heaven.
For fifty days, the Church celebrates the multitude of ways that new life is springing up and being birthed into our world. For fifty days, followers of Christ revel in the paradox of how an empty tomb can symbolize a life filled to the brim with abundance and joy. For fifty days, every new bloom mocks the illusory power of death and proclaims the undeniable power of life.
Year after year, the earth follows the cycle of seasons. Summer’s growth brings autumn’s harvests. Autumn’s leaves surrender to winter’s dormancy and death. Winter’s tomb explodes into spring’s resurrection glory.
Have you ever stopped to notice just how many shades of green accompany spring’s advent? Have you paused long enough to appreciate the vibrant hues of spring’s vitality on display in bush after bush, garden after garden? Have you allowed your nostrils to be filled with the sweet aroma of spring’s fertility? Spring’s exultation and praise will not be denied.
It’s not just in our flora, though, that spring is beginning to emerge. The circumstances related to this global pandemic have forced us all into a prolonged winter dormancy. We have endured a forced hibernation of sorts. But hints of life are tentatively emerging from their slumber.
To the attentive, we are witnessing how neighborly love can bridge the physical distance that separates us. We are seeing how tiny, simple acts of kindness serve as windows into a world we could only dream of a few short weeks ago. We are sensing the rebirth of true community – slower, smaller, kinder, simpler, more generous, and more authentic.
Be patient, though. Don’t rush it. Giving birth to a new reality takes time. The nativity of a new world is delicate business, after all. The temptation will be to “return to normal” as quickly as possible. Don’t give in. Easter isn’t just about a single day of ecstasy and celebration, after all. God is calling us to be an Easter people – one small, tiny, delicate decision for love at a time.