Spring is nearly upon us; the crocuses are in bloom with the daffodils not far behind. This time of year speaks to me of transformation. The bulbs that crocuses and daffodils come from don’t look very promising do they? They appear dried up and dead, and yet they are genetically programmed to spring to life at a certain time of year. That which is unpromising grows secretly underground until it bursts through and eventually blooms.
For me, such growth mirrors Lent and Easter. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is the day after Shrove Tuesday and lasts for forty days (excluding Sundays, which are seen as resurrection days and a time to celebrate). In that time, we’re encouraged to reflect on our lives, to give things up or take things on, to pray, fast and make changes. It can be a solemn time of year as we journey towards that fateful week which we call ‘Holy’. But in the darkness the unpromising seed grows and shoots of new life begin to emerge.
On Palm Sunday we see the enthusiastic way the crowds greet Jesus; by Thursday his teaching in the Temple has led the Sanhedrin to want to silence him once and for all.
We learn what it means to serve; we watch as Judas and then Peter let Jesus down. We reflect on what that first communion meal meant to Jesus and his followers and what it means to us.
On the Friday we call ‘Good’, the story comes to a dramatic climax when Jesus is condemned, crucified and placed in a borrowed tomb. The child of great promise apparently becoming the Lamb which was slain. Yet as we draw breath, the unpromising story reaches a wonderful conclusion as Mary Magdalene and her friends visit the tomb only to find it empty. What happened over those few days has to be the greatest story of transformation that there has ever been, because it doesn’t just affect the people of that time and place but people all over the world in the here and now.
This Lent and Easter time, we once again travel with Jesus on that road to hear the story and I look forward to sharing it with you. You can find details of all the Easter services on our calendar. I hope to see you soon.