At 11:50 last night, spring officially began — the earliest possible day for the vernal equinox and the earliest spring in 124 years.
However, I suspect most of us just aren’t feeling it — that renewal that comes when all the trees are budding, the birds begin to sing and the flowers start their blooming.
Instead of trying to pass on the glorious joy of spring, we may feel like we are living in the last season of “Game of Thrones,” where winter truly has come and it seems to be sticking around. Perhaps not in the weather, but in the grim realities of the daily news reports of shortages of medical supplies that may result in Third-World improvisations for masks and supplies in state of the art hospitals, orders to shelter in place and rising numbers of infected, even as the availability of tests isn’t materializing as we were told they would.
This just doesn’t feel like springtime.
But it is also Lent. And it feels more like that — that season of deprivation, discipline and preparation as we journey to the cross. Although who knew we would all be giving up the world as we know it for Lent.
The irony though is that the word Lent literally means spring. It comes from the Old English word “lenctin,” which means spring; the Old Saxon word “lentin,” which means lengthening; and the West Germanic word “langitinaz,” which means “the lengthening of days,” with each day providing more daylight.
We may be experiencing long days, but it may not feel like it is because we have more light.
However, Lent is a season where we affirm as followers of Christ that even as we go through a time of sacrifice, we live in faith and hope, knowing that at the end of the journey, life is stronger than death and that ultimately our souls are renewed by the new life Christ provides.
We need to cling to that hope and take hold of that promise in what may seem like an eternal winter, knowing that God is at work in this world, even as the sands are shifting under our feet.
God can and will provide renewal for our Spirit as we turn to our Lord for strength and light even if the days feel long.
The seasons will continue to change, regardless of how we feel, and God will be faithful to the promise to transform the darkness of these days into the light of redemption as we trust our Lord in the journey — through this truly Lenten spring.
O God of light, these days are often long, but we trust that you are a Lord whose light breaks through the darkness. Help is trust in the renewal you promise even as we journey through challenging times. In the name of Jesus who is the light of the world, we pray. Amen.