They tell us that spring began last Thursday. The chilly temps and forecasts mentioning snow may seem to say otherwise, but there are signs that winter is on its way out:
Robins have returned from their time away and bird songs have resumed.
My dog is beginning to shed her winter coat.
And best of all, the sun is rising earlier and setting later, and its rays really do warm us.
No matter what the temperature implies, spring is here.
Signs of promise. Signs of hope. Signs of new life.
As Lent progresses, we take notice of the countless signs of God’s love and faithfulness. In the midst of our failings, God embraces us with love and compassion. Despite our selfishness, God gives and forgives endlessly.
Lent, like the tail end of winter, can be a desolate and difficult time. We may be tempted to sink into sadness or despair because our faith life falls short of the ideal, or to just give up entirely. But Lent isn’t intended to be a time for hopelessness or abandonment. Lent is a time when we acknowledge the shortcomings in our connections with God and our neighbors, but then try again, rejoicing in the endless second-chances God gives.
In some communities of faith, as ashes are marked on foreheads Ash Wednesday, they say: “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.” A hopeful call to follow. A reminder of the breadth and depth of God’s love for us. A sign that, no matter what the brokenness around and within us may suggest, new life and hope and forgiveness are part of God’s promise and reality for the world. –ara
God of Hope,
Winter has been long and cold and tiring.
Bring spring’s warmth and growth soon
Fill the world around me with the life and hope of new growth and new life.
Sometimes life is long and cold and tiring.
Thaw the brokenness of my spirit, all that leads me to be impatient and unkind to the people around me.
Fill me with compassion and love, and the hope of new life.