When I was growing up in Point Pleasant, W.Va., (population of about 4,000) we had a sure-fire way to know when the season of Spring had arrived — and it had little to do with weather. The local Dairy Queen would open.
Without a doubt, the birds returned to town, the trees started budding, and people came out to stand in line in front of what in those days was little more than a shack. We would get back in our family cars driving around, eating our DQ delicacies, checking everything out in town.
A family ritual for many, no age discrimination, and no boredom in making loops around our small town, seeing the same things over and over, passing the same people, stopping, visiting, and being happy just being “out.”
In Pine Bluff, Ark., Spring is announced by the beauty of God’s handiwork in the trees and plants that begin their budding — the bright greens, whites, yellows, pinks and reds. The grass begins growing, and the song birds begin singing.
Everything that looked so dark begins to lighten, and so dead awakens back to life. This beauty is not a treat only for the very wealthy, to be shared between those who can afford it, but a gift for all of us. I have seen some of the most beautiful flowering plants and trees, displays of true artistry, before some of the most modest of dwellings.
It seems that the Season of Lent (a word which means “Spring”), the time of the Church Year where we prepare ourselves for the celebration of Easter, plays out in concert with the the earth and nature.
The very world seems to be calling out to us that Resurrection power is at work. The power that raised Jesus from the dead is raising up all creation, and is at work in us, raising us up, transforming us, making us new.
This gift of Resurrection is a free gift of love from God to all people — even to those of us who are the most modest of dwelling places for the Spirit of God. Pray that the beauty of holiness blooms within our lives, and we, with all creation sing our Alleluia! Alleluia!
The Rev. Walter Van Zandt Windsor is rector at Trinity Episcopal Church.
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