Rumor has it that “Spring” has arrived. At least from the cosmic and meteorological relationship of our “island earth” and its angle to the sun, it is now spring. And yet I see snow, and feel the cold. Even Abby, the most snow enthusiastic speed demon, sort of mumbles under her breath as she chugs over hard old snow that isn’t fun to race through anymore.
We’re all tired of the winter. It cannot die soon enough. We need to feel the warmth (and not just the pale chilled brightness of a “winter sun”). We need to be able to don light jackets, walk in the park, on the tracks, in the woods or on town sidewalks. We need to throw a baseball, catch a Frisbee, ride a bike, or play fetch with our family canine companions. I want to trade in jeans and six layers of sweatshirts for a tee shirt, shorts and sneakers! I would love to feel young again – one more time!
The feelings that Spring raises up in me each year are “sacramental” – by which I mean that those rites and events are “outward signs of an invisible spiritual reality” – for those of you who remember the catechism’s definition. And I am not merely speaking of trying to feel better about myself as if I could relive my adolescent years. I would NEVER want to relive those years. (I suspect most of us, if we’re truthful, would admit to that.)
This is more than about physiology or psychology. It is about “life in the spirit.” It is about, as the Greek Orthodox say: “being divinized.” For believers, the events we will celebrate in our HOLY week bring to mind that in Christ, life (true life, life eternal) is ever given to us – ever young for us. We arrive at Easter reminded that the feast is not about sunshine and warmth and flowers and color and the “stuff” of the season’s change. Easter is about even more than the resurrection of the Incarnate One who “lived and died for us and our salvation.” It is a reminder that in Him, we all rise to new life. We are, in him, ever young – ever entering into the springtime of a spiritual forever. And the cold pale death of spiritual winter will ultimately have no hold over us.