John 5:16-26 [On the Sabbath, Jesus healed a man ill for 38 years.] So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” … For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants. … The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son.
Everything seemed so bleak. The man ill for 38 years had given up hoping to get his life back. But Jesus…
Those first three months of her life when she screamed with colic, we couldn’t have imagined the happy child my granddaughter Talita has become. She doesn’t know she’s a Covid baby. But I believe she knows she is loved. Yesterday we celebrated one year of life. And today she took her first steps!
When I read ever more disheartening news about the devastation of Venezuela, it’s hard to imagine health and freedom can ever be restored there. Yet my friend Idagly asks me to pray for her faith, for gratitude, for contentment with God’s life-giving work, even in horrible circumstances. The Father has life in himself and grants us life through his Son.
As I look out my window at ice and snow, everything seems dead. But I have enough experience living in this climate to know it’s not so. Under the ground where I can’t see, roots are alive and growing. When conditions are right, courageous crocuses will poke their little heads through the snow, the heralds and hope-bearers of spring. Incredibly quickly, at least where I live, our city will transform from shades of black, white, and grey into living color, all the colors of the rainbow.
I’m thinking about all this as today we head into Lent, the forty days before Easter, weeks in which we’re tasked with considering death and all that is deadly in our lives. The point is not to be morbid, but to clear space for the bursting of new life. If I never clear out what is dead in my garden, the potent loveliness underneath won’t be able to express its full glory.
Even while I do the work of Lent, I will know—my soul cherishes this mystery—the roots of LIFE are there, strengthening, expanding, preparing to nurture new growth. The more courageous I can be in allowing God to root out what is not life-giving in my heart-garden, the more he can nurture the beauty that pleases him.
So—let it snow. The Father is always working, always life-giving. Even in winter. Even in Lent.
And spring is coming!