We are in between Winter and Spring. Perhaps still a little closer to Winter, or Second Winter as some say than to Spring, as we still have snow falling. I know the flowers are under this white layer, though, just waking up and beginning to stretch so when the sun throws off the blanket of winter, they will jump out of bed and stretch tall to begin their joyous dance of summer.
Where I live in northern Canada, we have another season between Winter and Spring. I call it mud season when the snow is mostly gone but the ground has not dried completely or been overtaken by the green grass.
Everything ends up with a layer of thick dirt that has been thrown up from the roads or tramped in on shoes. It’s not a long season. Mostly mud season only lasts a few days or a week. But the havoc it can cause in that short time!
Some of us make the best of it by putting on rubber boots and slopping through the puddles, very much like we shuffle through the leaves in Autumn… except the mud sticks to us like sin.
Speaking of sin… (how did you like that little segue?) This past Sunday was Palm Sunday, the day Christians celebrate the Triumphant Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The people cheered for who they thought would be a new earthly King.
Now we are in Holy Week. This is the week when the people realized Jesus was not to be an earthly King but also did not understand he was to be their Spiritual King, the Messiah. It is a week to consider how much God loves mankind, proven by his actions during this week.
Growing up I don’t remember being taught about some aspects of the Easter season, like the 40 days of Lent, or being required to give up something for Lent. And I don’t remember ever getting a new outfit to wear to Easter Sunday Service. We went to church every Sunday – most times early for Sunday School, stayed through the morning service, and again in the evening!
Yet I knew Easter Sunday was a special Sunday. Not because of new clothes, or attending church just that one time a year. And certainly not because of Easter egg hunts or chocolate bunnies. Easter was the day we celebrated our Risen Saviour.
God had become mortal and lived among mankind as Jesus – the same Jesus we celebrate the birth of at Christmas. Jesus lived a sinless life, even though he was tempted and lived in a dangerous, fallen world the same as we do. During Holy Week we remember what transpired in his life as he followed his mission to provide the perfect sacrifice so mankind could enjoy the presence of God, a presence most individuals had not known since sin entered our world in the Garden of Eden.
Jesus himself was the sacrifice – his blood dripped from his body as they nailed him to a cross between two thieves on the “Good Friday” so long ago. He died.
He was buried. His followers were confused.
But on Easter Sunday we celebrate because Jesus did not stay buried. He crashed through the gates of hell and defeated death. Hundreds saw him, talked with him, and touched him after the stone to his gravesite was discovered rolled away. He returned to his glory in Heaven where he speaks to God on behalf of those who believe he was the needed sacrifice and provides eternal life with God.
God did not leave us, though. The Spirit of God came to live not just with but in followers of Christ. The trinity of God is not simply another idol or “inner child” or a genie to ask for wishes. The Trinity is God the Father, Christ the Son and Saviour, and the Spirit our Guide. They are our living God, the I AM who loves each person, who we trust for salvation, who we worship at special times like Easter, but also every day we claim him as our Lord.
I have friends and family who do not believe any of this for a second. That is their choice and I continue to pray God will pursue them and they will turn to seek him. As for me, I do believe, and I will celebrate the spiritual reason for the Easter weekend. It is so much more than a day or two off work. It is so much more than a family gathering or colouring eggs. It is a day of decision, forgiveness, redemption, and joy because our Saviour lives.
My post on the Inscribe Writers Online blog this month is a fictional short story about a little girl in mud season who discovers the meaning of Easter. Take a few moments to read it and leave a comment on that site or on here.
Are you living in mud? Have you been covered in the blood of Jesus to be washed whiter than snow? Is this year the Spring of a new life for you? I pray you will consider the Easter story of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and what the truth of this season means to you.