Living in the Midwest, the first days of spring, when the temperature stays above 40 degrees two days or longer, is a time of celebration. Coats stay in closets and t-shirts come out of drawers, while children and adults take advantage of the fresh air that won’t cause frostbite.
But this morning, as I went for the first of many warmer weather walks, the same mixed emotions that I experience every year at this time came upon me. The beginning of spring has always been a time of joyful anticipation and deep frustration for me. The rising temperatures and brighter sun awaken the hope and excitement of life. Soon everything will be green; flowers will be blooming; the sky will deepen to a cheerful blue that will eventually transform into a warm haze. But none of this has taken place… yet. The ground is still frozen; everything is still lifeless. The world is still draped in the browns, grays, and dreariness of death. And this always depresses me. I long for life, but instead I’m confronted with decay.
It seems that today, the day in between Good Friday and Easter, is a good day to feel life’s anticipation in the midst of death’s frustration. The promise and anticipation of the Resurrection is sure, but it has not yet been accomplished. The tomb is still occupied. A body still lies there dead, wrapped in the linen clothes of encroaching decay. Tomorrow will be here soon, but for now it is still Saturday.
I can’t help but see the parallels between spring’s anticipation, the ‘in between’ of Good Friday and Easter, and life as I know it today. In a very real way I’m caught in the middle of anticipation life to come and frustration over still experiencing death. For me the promise of spring is still tomorrow while I continue to live with the reality of winter’s presence. Yet the ground is thawing! Death will soon be vanquished by life. Why? Because the Man of Sorrows is now the King of Spring, who will someday come and usher in the days of summer that will never end.
C.S. Lewis captured the hope of this promise so well in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. As Mr. Beaver is explaining who Aslan is – and what he is like – to the children, his description beautifully captures the hope of life in Christ:
“He’ll put all to rights as it says in an old rhyme in these parts: –
Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teach, winter meets its death
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
Winter will not last forever. The King of Spring is on the move.