Christ is Risen!
In the twilight hours while walking into church before the Sunrise Service on Easter Sunday morning something felt noteworthily off kilter, namely that the scene of the full moon nestled in the sky directly above the church reflecting brightly on the blanket of freshly fallen snow felt far more suited for Christmas Eve than Easter Morning. I even received a number of tongue in cheek “Merry Christmas” greetings (along with at least one unintentional bleary eyed honest mistake). Weeks later, still in midst of the Easter Season, canceling worship due to record April snowfall (humorously referred to as Snow’mageddon) mother nature apparently seems to have something else in mind altogether.
Springtime, with buds emerging on trees, song birds returning, brown shades turning to green, and the general frolicking of all God’s creatures is a very apt metaphor for the resurrection: what is dead comes back to life, even the world around us appears to be risen indeed Alleluia! But this April is not filled with any of these earthly metaphors we long to see, and instead of proclaiming springtime alleluias in our souls, we are instead left wondering if this winter will ever end.
Perhaps there is something deeper we can glean from this unseasonable weather; perhaps extended winter while not what our bodies, minds, and souls long to experience is indeed more of an apt seasonal metaphor for the experience of post resurrection Christians than the joyful renewal of spring.
In our Gospel text on Easter Sunday the women who found the empty tomb were not joyful and elated, but rather they were left trembling and bewildered. I don’t know about you, but this Easter Season (of 2018 in MN) has left me far more bewildered and trembling (shivering at least) than any other Easter Season I have experienced, but it’s not just a physical/emotional experience that connects this unseasonable weather with the Easter Season, there is also a valuable theological connection that is worth exploring.
The disciples were expecting a seismic shift in the spiritual and sociopolitical landscape as a result of Jesus truly fulfilling the prophecies he spoke of. They were expecting a king who would not only personally turn the world around in word and deed, but also through their experience of the world around them. The early church continued these expectations that something big was coming soon, a game changer in 1 Cor. 7 26-29 the Apostle Paul instructs singles in the early christian community in Corinth not to marry if they are not already married because the time is short. To Paul, the fulfillment of the Kingdom is is right around the counter; to us we pray with regularity “thy kingdom come” and yet here we are proverbially experiencing winter when it should be spring. Herein lies the complexity and beautifully Lutheran paradoxical tension of the Christian faith that professes the kingdom of God is here already, but not yet. Just as the Season of Spring is indeed upon us (being past the Spring Equinox on March 20th 2018), look out the window, and it is also clearly not Spring (as we know it) yet, and so MN Spring time might just be the perfect metaphor for the complexity of our faith and hope in Christ Jesus.
May the this snowy MN springtime weather bring you perspective and peace in the risen Christ.
He is risen indeed!