Every year on the first day of spring, Snoopy, the sagacious beagle from the late Charles Schulz comic strip, performed a dance to honor spring. As he twirled and hopped across a landscape bedecked with spring flowers and greening grasses, he recited an ode to spring. The last year Snoopy appeared in his dance to spring, snow began to fall and eventually covered Snoopy and the landscape with a mask of white, and, in the end, he stood frozen in the timeless warp of winter.
Spring is upon us. We have had a mild winter only to be greeted by snow late in the season. A late Canadian cold front brought frozen temperatures and a setback to spring colors and budding new life. The early plants – budding jonquils, daffodils and hyacinths were damaged. How fragile new life can be! The long anticipated colors of spring faded into winter grays and browns, setting back our own dance to new and emerging life. However, we are not like the cycles of the seasons, we are springtime people. Easter is a little more than a week away – our time for celebration of new and renewed life. We are Resurrection people, people of the empty tomb!
In St. John’s account of the Resurrection, Mary Magdalene came to an empty tomb early on that first Easter morning. Her dance to the spring of new life became frozen in the timeless warp of the death of Jesus on Good Friday, and now, she comes to mourn what could have been but is no more. Mary had faith, but faith based more on her expectations of Jesus than on Jesus himself. She stands next to an empty tomb weeping, not yet recognizing the newness of life, not yet realizing that she has become a Resurrection person, a person of the empty tomb. Through her tears, she recognizes Jesus when he appears to her in the garden, and begins to see with the eyes of faith, faith in Jesus.
In the garden, Jesus commanded Mary to go to the disciples and witness to them on his behalf, to share her newly budded faith in the springtime of eternal life. She obeyed Jesus and began to dance to the emerging spring of new life as she ran to the other disciples and witnessed to the Easter message, “I have seen the Lord!”
Jesus calls to each one of us just as he called to Mary in the garden and like Mary, we see Jesus through the eyes of faith. Like Mary, we must set aside our own expectations and set our hearts and minds on the expectations of Jesus. Like Mary, each one of us must respond in obedience to the Easter message. Like Mary, each one of us must be willing to dance to the spring of new and eternal life as we share the Easter message with those we meet, “I have seen the Lord!”
~ Fr. Al Jewson
Rector's Corner posts written by Pastor Rebecca.