By The Rev. Pamela Leach
As I write this article, the redbuds are blooming, trees are budding, the grass is turning green. Signs of spring (including a layer of pollen over everything outdoors) are all around us. How interesting it is that we start this season of Lent, which means “springtime,” with the reminder on Ash Wednesday that we are dust and shall return to dust. When our hearts are lifting with the signs of life outside, our worship turns to somber reflection on our human limitations and sinful nature. Soon we will enter Holy Week, singing All Glory, Laud, and Honor in celebration of Christ’s triumphal entry, only to enter the shadows again on Good Friday when we remember Christ’s crucifixion.
I find this somewhat counterintuitive move in church life grounds me in the faith more than any other time of the church year. It would be so easy to focus on the new life of springtime and our new life in Christ without confronting the reality of sin and death and brokenness in my life and in the world. But, the church year doesn’t let me do that anymore than the news each day. For that I am grateful because without this season of contrasts, I would not be challenged to focus on either the depth of my need or the magnitude of God’s love for this world and all who dwell in it.