By Rev. Angel L. Sullivan
Based on John 20:1-18
I grew up in an environment with noticeable seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall. Spring and summer were the months when you could smell barbecue and flowers, hear the laughter of children and adults late into the evening hours, and play under beautiful tress with the warmth of the sun on your face. Everyone was living the fullness of life and, as a child, I loved those seasons.
However, those seasons wouldn’t last; the fall and winter seasons would always come. The clouds took over the sun, dimming its brilliance and turning the blue warm sky into a dingy grey. The air would become colder and suffocate the life out of the leaves of tress that once stood so tall and beautiful, and all the smells and laughter of summer and spring stopped. Then it would snow. And snow. Smiles were hidden under layers of parkas and scarves, and people didn’t even have time to say “Hi”: They had to walk as fast as possible to their cars or indoors to get out of the cold. It seemed as life had died.
As Christians we have spiritual seasons in our lives. We have times when we can praise God with laughter, we can talk to God daily, and we can receive a response. Every time we pray it is as if all that we asked for is given to us. Then, suddenly, it may seem, darkness takes over. God’s voice becomes silent, praise turns into questions, prayers into pleading. However, as an adult I have learned that it is in our dark seasons, the falls and winters of our lives, that God is stripping us, recreating us, so we can have a new praise, anointing, power, and appreciation of all of creation. When the winter comes, it is a way of giving rest to the land, preparing it for a new and different season.
When Jesus died on the cross, many believed that it was finished. But Jesus’ death was the beginning.
Jesus’ death and resurrection transcended Jesus’ ministry and teaching; past sea, continent, time and culture. Had Jesus not died, had he not gone through his dark season, we wouldn’t have had the resurrection. If, as Christians, we try to hold on to our spring and summer, we may miss the opportunity to transform, to fully appreciate life and experience God’s glory.
The Lenten season is a time to embrace the darkness of the fall and winter, the transition from warmth to cold, from light to darkness; knowing that what appears to be dead is no more than a time of preparation for something greater in your life. Easter Sunday is not the end of something, but rather, a beginning: the beginning of the joy of the resurrection, the transformation, new life.
Praise be to God.
This is the final post in our Lenten/Easter series. For previous posts, use the tag list at the right and choose “Lent.”
Rev. Angel L. Sullivan is a commissioned American Baptist hospital chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital-BayCare Health System in Tampa, Florida. She serves as Mission and Events Coordinator (Adult) on the national leadership team of AB GIRLS, American Baptist Women’s Ministries.