Every since I got engaged this blog has been hi-jacked by personal stories that are probably not very interesting, so today let me reflect a bit on something even more obscure: Groundhog Day!
Here is an interesting holiday. We ceremoniously parade out Punxsutawney Phil to see if he will retreat back into his den or cage. American culture has set aside a day that we watch with fascination as a groundhog retreats into her/his hole. Can we all agree that this is an obscure and bizarre holiday??? Now is the time when I admit that I love groundhog day. Not because I’ve ever been to see Phil nor because I put any stock in Phil’s predictions, but I love groundhog day because it is obscure. It reminds us of our fascination with the unexplained, the accult, the bizarre, the supernatural. It reminds us that we want to believe in more than what can be seen or measured by science.
By all accounts Easter is much like Groundhog Day to many Americans. Crazy Christians gather in their churches to see if Jesus is in the tomb. If Jesus has risen (He always has) then they are inexplicably ‘saved.’ For those of us who are Christians, Easter is not meaningless like Groundhog Day but it is bizarre, really. Can we imagine what it must look like to those of other faiths? Can we imagine what it looks like to those with no faith? How is it that we bring forth the story of Easter that others will appreciate the mystery, the excitement and even the bizarre nature of the day without writing it off as a superstition?
I think first of all we have to take time to just enjoy the moment. We can use groundhog day to practice. Can we just experience Groundhog Day in all of its uniqueness? Can we forget about the fact that weather and sunlight contribute to whether the animal wants to come out or not? Can we forget about meteorology, climate and weather patterns? Let’s set aside science and technology and just enjoy the moment today. We’ll watch a groundhog for what it is and we’ll accept that the experience of watching the groundhog is worth something. As Christians, when we arrive at Easter in just a few months, perhaps we will remember this exercise. Let’s set aside the technological and scientific and just accept that the experience of Easter is where we will find the truth.