As springtime approaches, our attention is usually drawn towards the flourishing world around us, towards the earth that sheds its winter coat and makes room for fresh life to grow. This habitual renewal of creation inspires us to look at our environments and relationships with fresh perspective. Springtime builds a certain anticipation that is closely mirrored by the anticipation of the Church’s celebration of Easter. We are patiently humbled through the season of Great Lent by fasting and praying as Jesus did; Easter, then, marks the moment where we, like Christ, roll back the stone, shake off our old cloaks, and declare ourselves alive.
- Read Romans 12:1-2. How did your Lenten journey this year renew you?
- This passage addresses the renewal of both the body and the mind. In a world that seems to emphasize that the “spiritual” is lasting and the “physical” is fleeting, why do you think St. Paul emphasized both the body and the mind in worship?
- What new spiritual practices, if any, did you develop and would like to continue after Easter?
On Easter morning, we sing “Christ is risen from the dead! He trampled down death by death, and by his resurrection he granted life unto us. Glory unto him for all ages. Amen.” The feast dedicated to Christ’s resurrection celebrates the glory of Christ conquering the grave and God reclaiming his beloved humanity. Through his triumphant son, God is making all things new. Like the springtime itch to clean our homes, we recognize our self’s highest potential for beauty, hospitality, and compassion, and we do everything in our power to throw off the old self and put on the new. This spirit is reflected in the very symbol of our faith, in our icon of greatest value: the Cross. A tool once meant for fear and death was transformed by Christ’s triumphant resurrection, thus turning it into a symbol of life, love, and growth.
- Take a look at John 15:1-11. What are the branches that God has been pruning off of you to make you grow stronger?
- What do you think it means to “abide” in Christ? Can you name some steps you could take to “abide” in Christ and strengthen your love for God?
In closing, read and reflect upon this excerpt from an Armenian ode during Eastertide:
“A bright new flower had appeared this day out of the new tomb. The spirits, like unto plants, adorned with many hues, have become green with life. The florescence of the divine light had bloomed in the spiritual spring. He who died for us in love, raised with him our fallen nature. The light of the resurrection shone in the darkness of the shadows of death.”