Hello there! I am climbing out from behind the mountains of laundry after a wonderful week off. Why does it seem like you end up with way more dirty clothes after a week of vacation than you do in a regular week?
Spring break was great, so so great. I considered telling you all about it today, but it has to wait, because yesterday was my favorite day of the year. Resurrection Day. Easter Sunday. Christian super-bowl as Hubby likes to say.
I love the way that Easter and spring come in holding hands. It fills my bones with a feeling of freshness, of life bursting from what once was dead, of light and warmth pushing through the cold darkness of winter.
Can you feel it too? When you breath in deep? When you smell the budding flowers? When you hear the birds singing? When the wind blows sweet and warm through fresh green leaves?
I am not the biggest fan of winter (read: absolutely hate it). The cold is crippling, the long hours of darkness, being cooped up inside, it all makes me pretty cranky. It is way too easy for me to feel like winter has no purpose, to want to rush out of it and get to the sweet stuff of spring.
This year, this celebration of Resurrection Sunday has me thinking though. At the serviced Hubby and I went to, we talked about all that the Romans did to assure that Jesus was dead. In Matthew the retelling goes like this;
“The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”
“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
The Romans placed the official seal, declaring Jesus absolutely, no doubt about it dead. They made sure there would be no more questions by having the tomb guarded.
I can only imagine that Friday, each breath coming with the stinging sharp feeling of frigid winter. Hopes and dreams laid into cold dark ground.
But Sunday. In that beautiful sweet spring breathing day, all those details set to insure Jesus was truly dead, that no one could hide his body and make up a story, those precise things meant to keep Christ dead, to deny the miraculous movement of God, were the things that declared him without a doubt alive, miraculously alive.
At the same time that the Mary’s were telling the disciples what they had seen, the Roman guards went to tell their side of things;
“While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.”
How interesting that the chief priests did not doubt what the soldiers had said. In fact, they believed so much, that they immediately made plans to cover it up. Who could deny what the Romans had declared without a doubt true? How could they not believe these soldiers whose lives were at stake if they failed their mission?
All those things meant to keep Jesus dead were exactly what proved He was truly alive.
Perhaps all the things meant to keep you dead, to make you question if God has left you, may be the same things that will prove you are alive, that He is doing something great in you.
All the dead and cold and wrestling and waiting of winter prepares the earth for the beauty and blooming of spring. But you can’t have one without the other can you?
Today I am rejoicing. I am remembering again (because somehow this is a lesson I resist over and over) that winter is not wasted. The beauty of spring is a sweet salve for my soul, but without winter there is no breakthrough. If I am honest, thats the beauty that really changes me, that really makes me pay attention. That hard fought, left for dead but came back against great odds kind of beauty. The kind of beauty that takes time to grow deep and strong roots through that cold dead seeming winter.
Do you feel it breaking too? The winter shaking off your soul? Do you see the things you felt were dead that Jesus is redeeming? Do you taste spring rising up in you? Mmm, me too friend, and its so sweet.