Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Unseasonableness of God

It is mid-March and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the zoo animals are confused, and if you’re anything like me, your closet is still more stocked with sweaters than short sleeves. The weather people call these days “unseasonable” and along with the recent shift to Daylight Savings Time, they can make us feel disoriented, off our routine, and generally discombobulated.  But if we notice this feeling of unpredictability, it can remind us of Lent and help us prepare for Easter. 

Lent is a season of instability.  We recall how the people of Israel prayed for freedom from slavery and waited for God’s salvation.  God cleared the way with the Passover, the drying up of the Red Sea, and God’s constant presence in the wilderness.  As Christians, we have inherited this capricious God.  We acknowledge God’s incarnation in Jesus and we remember how Jesus preached, taught, healed, and moved among people in such a way as to overturn temple tables and challenge religious presuppositions.  Almost nothing Jesus did could be understood as expected, natural, or predictable.           

As we look toward Easter, it is worth remembering that we make a huge theological mistake if we think about resurrection as a part of the natural cycle of things.  Easter eggs and cute bunnies notwithstanding, resurrection is not like bulbs blooming in spring or the change in seasons.  The orthodox Christian belief about the resurrection of the dead (that of Jesus and that of our own) is that we die completely. Cold. Dead. Lifeless.  Then, in a most unnatural, unreasonable, and unseasonable way, God gives new life.  God raises from the dead.  God fills darkness with light.  God turns our mourning into laughter that lasts into eternity.

The strange weather we are having reminds me that I’m not in control of very much.  It reminds me that God is in control and that God has promised to take care of me, no matter what.  So let the trees and flowers bloom early.  Let the sun burn and let the winds blow.  Let death itself do its best with me because God takes care.  God loves and God resurrects, all in due season.

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