Everyday we face a choice. To look toward the future and seek a way forward, or look to whatever it is behind us that holds us back. Look to the dawn, or back at the things that scared us in the night. Darkness or light.
I’m thinking of this because today is so bright, warm and mild that it’s almost impossible to feel anything but good. The sun is high and bright and the world looks wonderful in this light. For those of us celebrating Easter tomorrow, the weather couldn’t be more perfect. Creation becomes its own metaphor, you can feel hope waiting to be reborn. The air positively buzzes with the promise of new life; of a resurrection from despair to delight in a single moment of light and life.
Like that day so long ago, that miraculous hinge of history when many of us believe the world was redeemed, every Spring remembers and resembles in miniature that singular spark of dawning revelation. Christ died to be reborn, to lead us through death to the same rebirth–a cycle of life echoed in the dying of a seed in the ground to burst forth somehow with life to feed and encourage the continuity of all life. The Easter moment is both promise and pattern; it is future and past at once.
That’s the way faith works. Not blindly stumbling forward without practical understanding, not to step into empty space and expect magic to save you, but to recognize what has been, what can be, and to see the signposts of the promise along the way. Nature is God’s best sign, and the cycle of the seasons enacts its passion play for us in continuous performance. The seasonal death of winter, leading to the re-greening of earth each spring; the sprouting of new shoots which become the strands of time that weave our lives in forward motion. The light reaching into our darkest places to warm, thaw and draw forth the breath of new wonder.
The metaphors reach beyond the practical and natural. Shall we live in the grim expectation of persecution and suffering, or believe that the sun will rise on a renewed world in mere moments? Shall we live in the worst of that deadly Friday noon two millennia ago, or live for the dawn of Sunday morning when the stone rolls away?
Stay in the shadows if you want, but the light will find you. You don’t need to let it in, you needn’t take it to heart, you can opt to go on in defeat and dread, but the light finds us all. What we do about it, and with it, is for each of us to discover. But the light seeks its own, fills every corner and is there for the accepting.
Now, take Easter as history or faith, as metaphor or myth. Believe whole heartedly in the sacredness as many do, or see it simply as a symbol of natural process–but embrace it for the goodness it brings. Again, make your choice. But there is much to celebrate from any perspective in the yearly (re)turning of the world toward the sun, in the resurrection of a living, breathing world from its cold winter tomb.
The promise is natural and supranatural, metaphor and fact. The sun rises, the son has risen.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
Happy Easter, wherever you find yourself.