Much to our surprise, we woke up to almost an inch of snow today. It all melted quickly, but it was a reminder of how, shall we say, variable and tempermental spring can be.
This small pause in the progress of spring seems fitting, though, as we make preparations for the funeral of a 75 year old man from one of my congregations. Life has been on hold this past year for his family as they've watched him weaken. He's lived a year longer than anyone expected. They're very grateful for the extra time, but at the same time express a sense of having being caught in a limbo time, always wondering when death would come. And now it has.
So it is time to declare spring. Time to point to new life. In the midst of tears, the pain, the goodbyes, we declare that Christ has triumphed over death. There is hope, there is joy, there is life even as we come to terms with the death of someone we care about.
I really enjoyed visiting with this gentleman. He liked to tell stories of the people and the town when he was a child and a young man, and told funny stories about living out in the Dakotas. He was tenderhearted and caring, and not ashamed to show it.
When someone we loves dies, the pain in our hearts may tell us that spiritually we are in the cold and dead time of winter, but Christ promises that he will bring us to the warmth and new life of spring. We lean on his arms, and his promises.