The SPIRE – April 2018

Dear Edwards Church Community,

     When I reflect on the power of hymns to celebrate and cultivate faith, one that always comes to mind is the “Hymn of Promise,” which in The New Century Hymnal is called “In the Bulb There Is a Flower.”  “In the bulb there is a flower, in the seed an apple tree …In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be …”

We are an Easter people. As a Christian community, we exist because of a reality that many dispute – the resurrection. Without Easter, our faith would not be the same. Without trust and confidence that the death of the body is not the last word, the Christian movement would look very different, if it existed.

So, what difference does it make to you that Jesus rose, or was raised, from the dead? Does Easter come and go each year as a pleasant reminder that bulbs, once planted, can be counted on to produce a flower, for a few seasons – but not much more? Does your experience of the joy of Easter also include celebrating the fact – however you “understand” it – that despite our inability to adequately explain it, resurrection is real? And, if real, does that change how we live?

We can all recall specific times of struggle, fear, and uncertainty.  It might be sitting in a family member’s hospital room, or a doctor’s office exam room waiting for news we are dreading. It could be that sinking sense when your partner or employer has bad news. Despite our best efforts, life consistently comes up with ways to upend our plans.

Despite our best efforts, life consistently includes death, in many forms. We do not get to control the persistence with which death intrudes, as much as we would like. But we do get to choose where we place our trust and confidence, our faith. We do get to choose – to a large extent — how open we will be to the possibility that there is more life waiting to unfold just beyond the edge of our current perception. We cannot control the life still to come any more than we can control the end of life as we know it. And the life yet to come may be open to us only to the extent we are open to it.

     “There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody; there’s a dawn for every darkness bringing hope to you and me.” One of the reasons hymns are so powerful at communicating things that defy intellectual understanding is that they rely more on engaging our feelings than our thinking. They use the language of music to convey meaning between our hearts and our heads.

“In the end is our beginning; in our time, infinity; in our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity. In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.”

Nature provides revelation. In it, nothing is lost, only changed, from glory into glory, from one form of showing God’s presence to another. We are an Easter people, and we get to live unafraid – as much as human beings can – because of what we know in our hearts and minds. It is enough to inspire one to sing.

Happy Easter, all year round,

Michael

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