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March 3, 2016, 1:17 PM

A Taste of Spring

As I write this on Leap Day, the weather outside is absolutely Spring-like.  A  day like this one helps to remind and reassure us that Spring is coming.

That’s also what Easter does for a world that knows too much “winter.”

The world is a mess, today.  There is terrible violence, from lunatics randomly killing people in American streets, to religious fanatics committing atrocities in the “Holy Land.”.   A tiny handful of people control more wealth than all the 3.5 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world’s population, and the imbalance is worsening.  Just when we got Ebola under control, Zika has gone epidemic.  And don’t get me started about the embarrassingly petty, mean, and increasingly crass circus of our state and national politics…

It is easy to give in to a cold, winter-like despair.

But then, we remember what God did with Jesus.  He was tortured to death by the civil and religious authorities.  Even people who had once cheered him, ended up screaming for his blood.  Hanging naked, humiliated, battered, and rejected on the cross…he literally died of a broken heart.  A friend had to provide a place for him to be buried, or his corpse might have been dumped next to a smoldering garbage pit called Gehenna…a name sometimes used for Hell.

Yet despite his utterly ignominious death, God raised him to new and invincible life.  His demoralized followers, suddenly found the hope and the courage to proclaim that Jesus had defeated death and sin.  Many of them would go to their own deaths insisting that their fantastic claim was the Gospel Truth.

No, it didn’t immediately fix everything.  Jesus didn’t come storming out of the tomb, trounce all the bad guys and right all the world’s wrongs.  To do so would have violated the freedom God has given us.  Ultimately, the messy world we have to live in, is largely the one we have chosen.

But, his resurrection is proof that God does not give up on us, even when all seems have sunk into evil and despair…the relentless grace of God is still at work.  There IS cause for hope!  God is determined to bring the Spring of new life to us.

Yes, it is a long winter.  But, when we take the Good News of Jesus Christ to heart, we find new courage, comfort, and a deepened capacity for compassion.  When we dare to grasp the hope of Easter, we can find the inspiration to live new lives that shine with the light of his grace.  In such moments, the winter is pushed back, and Spring blossoms.

Do not forget that God has not given up on you…or us.  Even in the winter, the promise of Spring is present.

He is Risen!

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