It was refreshing to be in nature today as I briefly walked a nearby trail. Some of the trees had recently had limbs cut off and it seemed symbolic of how many are feeling about life these days. By trying to keep social distance, many feels cut off from family, friends, or loved ones. We see the images of doctors having to see their children from the other side of glass doors. We hear family members unable to see those they love in hospitals and/or grieve that they couldn't be present when their loved one died. We feel a loss by not gathering with anyone, having normal meetings or worshipping together. We think about so many lives lost, so many sick, and the many who have put their lives on the line to care for others. It can overwhelm us.
In the midst of all the tragedies, birds are singing, flowers are blooming, trees are sprouting, and new life is emerging. It reminds us that life has its cycles; that new life emerges through death; that there's resurrection and new possibilities God continually offers. It's a ray of light in all the darkness; hope in the midst of despair. Nature offers insight to life.
As we approach Holy Week, perhaps we can relate in new ways to the old story of the experience of those who witnessed Jesus' death thinking all hope was lost. Or perhaps we can understand sacrificial life from a different perspective. This will be a time when we let go of Easter bonnets or Easter egg hunts to grab hold of the deeper meaning of Easter. It is about self-sacrifice, love, and resurrected life. While we may return to much of normal life, we will be changed.
May you feel God's love and grace in this time!
Pastor Kathryn Bates