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Pastor's Monthly Newsletter Message

April 2010

For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come,

and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

                                                                                        Song of Solomon 2:11-12

 

Dear Friends,

It may have occurred to all of us, as we repeatedly stood in snowdrifts higher than our recollection, that this would be the Winter which would go down as a freak of nature, that is, that Winter had become the default season, the permanent condition of the Northeast and that we would never experience Spring again.  Some of us nearly gave up hope, as if we had suddenly stepped into Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and found ourselves pushing a grocery cart filled with our belongings through snow-covered terrain toward an elusive state of warmth and vegetation.  With thanks to God for the consistent change of seasons, however, the winter is past, the snows are over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come . . .

Actually, the conclusion of our winter doldrums—our transition from meandering melancholy into singing hope— helps us to identify with Mary Magdalene, who weeps outside Jesus’ tomb in the twentieth chapter of John’s Gospel.   Her agony is endless, intense, a fathomless well of blood and gall, of biting and bitter memories that assault her palsied equilibrium.  Mary stood weeping outside the tomb.  Presumably the gardener approached her and asked a direct question: “Woman, why are you weeping?   Whom do you seek?”   She had told the angels who asked the same question of her, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”  Jesus was her everything.   Now, in this garden of death and decay—in this endless Winter, so to speak—rather than being possessed in ecstasy by enduring love, Mary is held captive by chronic grief with no hope of consolation . . . until Jesus, the Risen Christ, speaks her name softly:  “Mary.”  Mary turns to Jesus, recognizes him, and exclaims, “Rabonni!” From that very moment, Spring springs forth, and lo, the Winter is past . . . the flowers appear on the earth, and the time of singing has come.  In lieu of previous bitter options, she chooses to live in victory, not in defeat; to live in hope, not in despair; to deny chronic grief; to restore her lost soul; to acknowledge she was not wrong, that indeed love does last forever . . . for the human spirit in Christ is indomitable, stronger than death.  And the key? 

               The key is recognition of the Christ as risen from the grave, alive for eternity, and victorious over death.  We’re speaking here of the very heart of the scandalous gospel: that is, that Christ, the Son of God— crucified, dead and buried—has been raised from the dead, which sets forth enormous—even preposterous—implications for each one of us and for those whom we love: namely, the gift of eternal life.   Is it true?  Yes, it is true!  We hold fast to the truth of the Day of Resurrection!  Christ hath burst His prison.  ‘Tis the spring of souls today.1   Let the whole earth tell it out abroad.2   Christ is risen!

Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,3   the very Hope of Spring and Source of new life!

 Faithfully yours,

Calvin Coolidge Wilson, Interim Pastor

1From the hymn Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain, stanza 2, line 1

2 From the hymn The Day of Resurrection! stanza 1, line 1

3I Corinthians 15:27