“Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.” - John 12:20-33
After the great snow storm, I imagine many of us have been overwhelmed with yard work we didn’t sign up for. I’ll admit I’ve only done a little. Luckily, I have some help coming on Friday to at least address the initial clean up and cutting back that needs to happen. But amidst all the evidence of damage, there have been emerging signs of new life. The redbuds are beautiful in Tucker courtyard, and stubborn emergences of new life are there if we take the time to look. This feels like a welcome and important sign as we head into these last days of Lent. This year, perhaps more than many years, we need that promise of Easter to keep us hopeful.
Last year we were already pre-recording Holy Week liturgies that would be viewed from our homes. Thankfully this year we will have opportunities to experience these services live, either in person or streaming. I have become ever grateful for the rhythms our liturgical calendar provides to me so I can order my life around them. Pre-taping left me disoriented in profound ways I still can’t quite explain. You may remember that Easter Sunday I drove down to the church to ring the bell. It felt important for that witness to go out to the city even if we weren’t able to gather in person. This year we will have the opportunity to witness from Travis Park both on Palm Sunday and Easter.
Other signs of new life for me include increasing numbers of San Antonians who are being vaccinated and the hopeful planning of gatherings with family and loved ones. We need to continue to be cautious and follow best public health practices as we have been all along. But, it is also energizing to really start imagine what the fall might bring to us in the way of programming and opportunities to be with one another again more fully. I’m also seeing great signs of new life in our building. There is loud banging, wires being pulled, and itinerant office occupancy, as we shift around to allow for the visible progress being made. It’s exciting to see this literal rebuilding happening as we prepare for a fuller time.
It has been a challenging season for sure. But we have remained people of hope and resurrection throughout. I sense that while this year’s holy week and Easter will not quite be all that we’ve been able to do in the past, it still will mark a holy and helpful step into the future. That in fact is what we are promised as followers of Jesus Christ. If we trust in the new life we are promised, we are able to weather the storms and find the energy to remove that which is no longer life giving.