By Dave Smith
This breezy, wind-whipped Wednesday prior to Palm Sunday brings thoughts to write. Grey scuds of clouds bustle everywhere and only an insistent effort brings a peek of sunshine now and then. The day will clear I am told and the slaps of rain will dwindle to scattered showers. McDuff and I did his a quick “errand” in the outdoors – even he didn’t want to brave the stings for too long. Brief lulls allow relaxing creaks and groans in the bones of pines, a chance to straighten and stretch the aches of such days away. Amazing how the hollowed, huge trunk of the elderly, but young at heart, oak continues to survive. Its arms simply sag, an octopus of tangles and soon to be droppings that no longer know leaves. Last night’s lightning and thunder stirred more hope of spring’s arrival, a hope shared by a poke or two of tulip and daffodil next to the front porch. The neighbor’s swings jerk a ragged rhythm to the song whistled through cracks, around corners, and down the slopes be-tween the homes. The green teases to be sure, but Wisconsin has only had June, July and August as snow free months, at least to the best of my recollections.
Harsh. Yes that pretty much describes such rustled mornings. I suspect Jesus knew the feel-ing as he experienced his Wednesday before Palm Sunday, before what we now call Holy Week and His impending crucifixion. Pastors across the span of my years have often tried to capture Christ’s emotions for congregations intent on understanding. Musings for us cannot capture what our Savior knew would happen to Him, its horror so agonizingly clear in his final walk to Jerusalem and eventu-al time of prayer in Gethsemane. He must have seen Golgotha and perhaps a bit humanly cringed. He certainly knew He would be alone, be betrayed by His most beloved of disciples. And most as-suredly He knew the burden He would carry to the cross to accomplish the Will of His Father on be-half of all mankind. His journey ended with a cross on a bleak hillside, His death came with winds and templed tremblings. That shadow of a cross has a name.
We Christians accept the death and resurrection of Christ in faith and in so doing we receive God’s greatest gift. His blood marks our hearts, gives us the forgiveness we cannot earn as God passes over us in judgement. Heaven is our home through grace, the unmerited favor of God, our Father. Easter is not a Biblical term and its origin has a variety of explanations. Far too often, its definition has become a day of colored eggs and chocolate, baskets of fake greenery stuffed with goodies to sate taste buds. Children enjoy “hunts” in parks or living rooms for treats left by a mythi-cal bunny. Yes, that’s fun for all. Be the weather snow and ice, sunshine, lollipops, or rainbows, cel-ebration is fun. For Christians, we have a clearer focus. Sunrise, an empty tomb, mystery, and reali-zation that God has truly touched us, a Hand from heaven giving us but one thing we could never buy.
The week or so ahead will hold much in my journey I am sure. Bustle, scuds of hurry for this and that, greys and rays, robins and finch singing for spring. Mostly, I will remember another jour-ney with a known fate, a God given hope through Jesus Christ. My hope is not a peek of sunshine. I know its truth, I know its name. God’s love – Grace.