April – 2019
I have a friend who is, as a part of her Lenten discipline, contemplating a word a day. I saw her post recently and she simply remarked that her word for the day was Wonder. The word for the previous day was Silence.
It has been a long, hard, snowy winter. We had 39 inches of snow in February, when our average is 7 inches. More than once, my husband had to shovel off the tops of the snowbanks, to make room to put the shovelfuls of snow once the next snow storm hit, or carry shovelfuls of snow 10-20 paces to toss it on a snowbank that wasn’t too high.
Those of us who have been in Minnesota for the duration of this winter, have by and large tolerated the snowy season in silence. There’s not a lot we can do about it, so we simply wait and wait, in silence.
But silence will be replaced by wonder, as the crocuses emerge and the tulips bloom and the daffodils share their delightful fragrance. Spring is a time of joy and laughter and new birth as the earth awakens from its long winter slumber.
On my morning walk in late March, while there was still snow on the ground all around me, I saw a bright red oak leaf, lying on the sidewalk, as if it had freshly fallen from a tree, as if we were in the middle of Fall, not working our way into Spring. Where has that leaf been all winter? I wonder.
Holy Week begins with Palm/Passion Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and then the great silence of Holy Saturday. I imagine Jesus’ friends finding that Sabbath day, that Saturday, to be one of the most bleak and lonely Saturdays they have ever experienced. Their leader has been killed, hastily put into a tomb before sunset, and then they are supposed to worship God? I’m hoping that they stayed together and supported one another in their grief, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of them wandered off to dwell in their own sorrow.
I wonder if they slept well that Saturday night. I wonder if they slept at all.
And then when the women went to the tomb to properly prepare the body, and found that Jesus had risen, their wonder turned to joy! Christ is risen! What joyful news!
As we anticipate the darkness and silence of Good Friday, turning into the wonder and joy of Easter; as we file out single file from the Good Friday service and come back with whole families on Easter; as we share with a glad shout, “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!” we celebrate the new life we have as Christians, we remember and bring together again the understanding that we have not been abandoned. No matter how bleak the winter has been, there is joyous spring! No matter how dark the burial chamber, the light of eternal life shines bright. No matter how much we feel like we are living in the darkness of Good Friday, Sunday is coming!