A Word from Walker
I am grateful to God for each of the four seasons. I love each of them for different reasons. I love Summer for its warmth and all of the various outdoor activities that get re-introduced to us each June. I love Fall because I enjoy hunting, college football and chats around an open fire. I love Winter because the brisk, cold air invigorates my senses and I still occasionally will brave a really fast sled run. But Spring is different. Although it seems shorter than all of the seasons Spring is for me is all about compacted, concentrated hope.
When Spring arrives we move from cold to cool and to even a little bit warmer weather in a short period of time. You literally feel like you have to wear three types of outfits a day. Flowers bloom, but just as we begin to enjoy them they seem to fade. Baseball fans look forward to Spring Training, but in the blink of an eye Opening Day rolls past us. We get used to Spring and then we feel thrown into the furious flow of Summer.
As Christians, the obvious correlation is about the hope that is found only in the resurrection of Jesus. But that first resurrection day experienced over two thousand years ago came on the back end of a lot of bad stuff. For instance, in a short few days that we now refer to as Holy Week, the disciples experienced all of the possible human emotions one could fathom – pride in the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem; confusion about his constant referral to his impending suffering; conflict, accusations, and denial preceding and following his arrest and trials; anguish and confusion over his crucifixion; anxiety after his death; and shock and eventual joy over his resurrection. I can’t imagine if you did a psychological test on the disciples what they would score on the stress meter after such a week.
In many similar ways, we are coming out of the Winter of COVID and the numbness that many still feel from one year of isolation, fear and conflict. The good news is that many of our churches are almost back to some semblance of a regular routine if that is possible during the last year we’ve experienced. People are actually warming to coming back to worship, if you would allow me a little grace to spin that pun. I know pastors are looking at various ways to re-engage the community as people are willing to let people back into their lives. I would even venture out and make the somewhat bold statement that the most pessimistic folks among us would say we are moving forward.
And just like people who are wondering when they can wear lighter clothing, people are cautiously beginning to venture out to see if the newest adjustments with processing the pandemic are here to stay. My encouragement to you as we wait and see if the reduced numbers of hospitalizations and the increased numbers of those taking the vaccine make a difference is this: Don’t let the budding hope of Spring be something that passes you by. Don’t be like the disciples who saw the resurrected Jesus and still stayed in an uber-cautious mood. In other words, make sure that you don’t let fear of an outbreak of another pandemic or needless worry over reactions to the vaccine rob you of the joy that reflecting on the resurrection brings. We are people of hope because we know that any suffering we experience here is a light and momentary things compared to the glory that awaits us. So be wise, sensible and respectful of others, but be willing to let hope rise up in your heart once more. Afterall, over two thousand years ago the virus of fear and unbelief could not resist the delivering power of a conquering Lord.