Yes, I’m a church nerd, but I always look forward to the season of Easter. I look forward to a great Easter Sunday morning at church, yes, but, then, I enjoy reveling in the ‘afterglow’ of the next few weeks. I spend those weeks looking for signs of new life, reflecting on the experience of the cross, and expecting resurrection, not just because of old stories found in the Bible, but I expect signs of resurrection in the world around me. I suppose signs of new life are always present, but I get excited about the season of Easter because it helps me to pay attention to the amazing things God is doing in this world. This year, though, Easter wasn’t the season I expected it to be.
This year, I found myself tired as I came to Easter because I was doing a mandated (by the United Methodist Church) internship at BroMenn Regional Medical Center along with my full-time job. Because of my exhaustion, I didn’t really take in Easter the way I ought to have, perhaps. More devastating, however, was the abrupt end to our pregnancy after Carrie and I suffered a miscarriage. A season that was supposed to draw my attention to new life became a season of loss and exhaustion.
Today, as I look toward Pentecost (this Sunday) and a new church season, I realize something, suddenly: Even though I had a difficult season…there is hope. I have an opportunity to let go of the troubled weeks of Eastertide and celebrate the hope of a new season in my own life.
You see, professionally, as I plan worship, I will set aside the themes and scriptures of Easter and I will prepare for a new season of different scriptures, songs, and worship themes. I guess, in my personal life, I would do well to set aside the difficulties of these past weeks and months, in a similar way, and allow myself to focus on a new season and find hope for better weeks ahead!
For me, the hope that comes in a new season is:
- the possibility of getting pregnant, again;
- welcoming a new pastor to my church and fostering a new friendship;
- renewing my own body and spirit this summer with exercise, right eating, and spiritual disciplines;
- working on my relationship with my wife that the experience of this season would help us to deepen our relationship for the next.
As we leave the Easter season, we don’t leave behind the message of Christ or hope for the future. Likewise, as we move from one season of life to the next we should never lose sight the experiences we have had, yet we have an opportunity to look for new life and experience resurrection. Over these next weeks, I pray that we will continue to experience Christ’s resurrection and I pray that it will draw our attention to the resurrection all around us and help us to find renewal in our own lives!