Thursday, April 10, 2008
It has finally decided to be spring in the Southern Tier of NY. The crocus has bloomed. The skies are high and blue. And I can wear a light jacket and be comfortable.
Now is the time to say Alleluia!
I keep wondering how my colleagues in the Southern Hemisphere deal with Easter while embracing autumn. I asked an on-line colleague once what it was like to prepare for Christmas during the hot months of summer. She said, she didn’t know any other way since she had never lived anywhere but Australia. It really hadn’t occurred to her that Christmas wasn’t a hot summer’s festival. To try to comprehend Easter as something other than a spring feast is almost beyond my ability.
The word Easter is an old English word which comes from Eostre, the goddess of spring who is part of the Germanic pantheon. In the Mediterranean languages, the word for Easter is derived from the word Pesach, the Hebrew word for Passover. In Spanish, for instance, there is no way to distinguish the Jewish feast of Passover and the Christian feast of the Resurrection. In the Middle Eastern languages Easter is referred to as “Great Night” referring to the great baptismal liturgy of the Easter Vigil.
I would have difficulty trying to explain the Resurrection if I could not use spring imagery. And I have had difficulty getting into Easter season this year for that reason. It simply hasn’t been spring here in NY State. It has still been winter. Resurrection can happen at any time—certainly. It can happen in the dead of winter, in the retiring of autumn or in the blistering heat of summer. But whenever we experience it, we see it as “new budding.” We will even use those “springy” words to describe the incomparable experience of being restored to life after being dead.
Resurrection is not as rare as we might think. Whenever we find new life it is Resurrection whether it is physical, spiritual, or emotional. Whenever we embrace the newness that God gives as a blessing, we know resurrection. Whether it is the thankfulness for a new morning or a sea change in attitude, or the biological change from death into new life, resurrection is still a spring season.
And so I am singing Alleluias today.