We’re a few days from Palm Sunday and the solemnity of Holy Week. Our worship this past Sunday, however, seemed to be preparing us for Easter with examples of God’s power and promise to bring life to the lifeless. The prophet Ezekiel recounts the story of the valley of the dry bones, where God brought flesh upon them and said, “I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live.” John’s Gospel tells of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. It feels like our lectionary—the assigned series of scripture readings we hear each Sunday in a three-year cycle—is instilling the hope of resurrection so we can spiritually endure the days to come.
My Lenten book has been hard, sobering reading. We certainly live in sobering times. I have deep concerns about a whole list of personal issues. We all need reassurance that the God of love is ever present, that new beginnings are ahead. So I love that not a foot outside my sunroom window, a mama cardinal is hurriedly constructing a nest for the soon-to-come eggs. Before I closed my laptop last night, I checked in on April the giraffe, whose live-feed giraffe cam is ready to capture the birth of her calf. A quarter of a million people were doing the same.
These seemingly small diversions take on importance for me. They attest to God’s continuing acts of creation, of beauty and of a life force that cannot be diminished by what humanity wreaks. In your life and mine, there are experiences of our own Gethsemanes, or times we have felt like a pile of dry bones. We have borne smaller deaths and resurrections. We look for, hope for, the eggs in the nest, signs that all things will be made new.
During these final days of Lent, much of that looking is within ourselves. What contributes to spiritual malady and must be repented, and what is life-giving? What we know for sure: we long for Easter.
With Jesus, we now head down the road to Jerusalem and begin the hard work of Holy Week. But we are blessed today to know the promise that will be realized if we stay on that road. Like Lazarus, Jesus and you and I will shed our bonds and live. Thanks be to God.