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February 21, 2007

Re-telling His-Story with Our Days

Snowpicture Today snow is melting outside our offices. Being a Floridian, I’m new to this whole season thing and am seeing everything still with a child’s eyes. The roads are slushy in a way that makes me want to run to 7-Eleven for an ICEE. Brownish green grass is peaking out from under the mess looking a little unkempt and surprised to have the early visitor of spring temperatures. I step in a puddle of melted snow and I can’t help but think of Aslan on the move and Narnia’s always-winter-never-Christmas thaw.

Seasons—they are a glorious retelling of God’s story, aren’t they? Death and life, sowing and harvest. Poets and philosophers have been moved by these same sights since the dawning of time.

We are creatures who inhabit time and season and space.

Even our culture operates around seasons. These become rhythms to our life. The media punctuates time with things like back-to-school season, Halloween, spring break, the Emmy Awards, play-offs, Final Four. It moves things along somehow. And we come to anticipate them.

For centuries, Christians have looked at time through their own lens.

They’ve seen their world revolving around seasons that point them to a grander story than the new fall television line-up. During the season of Advent, we anticipate a Savior. Christmas marks the wonder of Incarnation. At Epiphany, we rejoice that God would remember not just the Jews, but the Gentiles too. In the forty days before Easter, known as Lent, we prepare our hearts for the Crux of history, the turning point that marks the turning point of each of our lives. As we turn our faces toward the cross, it is a time to let his sacrifice focus our minds. How can we remember so great a sacrifice without also wanting to purify our lives of the very things that were the reasons he must suffer and die on our behalf?

We anticipate this pivotal moment in human history and move toward an even greater one, the Resurrection. After Easter, we remember the day of Pentecost when God visited us with the power of the Holy Spirit and sent us out to spread this Good News. The days that follow are called Ordinary Time. They are a time for green and growth, and remind us of the way the Good News should be spreading like a wild fruitful vine to cover the face of the whole earth. These days culminate in a day called Christ the King Sunday, a feast day in which we anticipate the final culmination and coronation of our rightful King Jesus.

I’m new to the liturgical seasons also and view them with the same wonder as I do the slushy snow outside. I love how both tell me of a greater story, of THE story. I want to live my life by different rhythms than the world. As the snow melts outside, I want my heart to thaw from the world’s hold on it. I want to prepare the soil of my heart for a new season of fruitful labor in the service of my King.

{For an easy-to-read explanation of why Christians celebrate Lent and some practical questions to help in reflection, read Craig Higgin's On Keeping a Holy Lent.)

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Carol Haro-Halperson

Being a native Californian and Los Angelean, the seasons are new to me as well, even after living with them for 14 years. And, while I now enjoy reading about and joining in to a small degree to the liturgical seasons, the liturgy is something I turned away from when I was seven years old. Nevertheless, I've found that I do liken my native mild climate to the very unchangeable nature of Christ. I grew up at the southern end of the Santa Monica Bay, and always saw the Pacific raising its arms in praise of its Creator with each wave that runs for joy to the rocks. In the evening, when the mist rolls ashore, it's a time of refreshing from the heat of the day, much like time with Him cleanses me from the stains of my own failings and this world. And when the earthquakes strike, they are the fierceness of the King James terrible God, who is also the One who makes all things new. Newness comes after destruction, be it all my sin and filth that were nailed to the cross, or the deconstruction and rebuilding of my thought processes and my understanding of Who God is.

It is amazing how the creation reflects the Creator, no matter the climate. And no matter the climate I am in, I, too, must daily make the choice and effort to live according to that reflection and not the world's.

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