Unlike last year when winter was long and cold, and spring never seemed to arrive, this year it is the exact opposite.
Winter was non-existent to speak of. We had mostly mild weather with a couple of days of snow. Just to remind us, we had a day of crazy weather the second last week in March. From a balmy 20C we tumbled to 7C. The day started a dreary grey. Toward midday blue skies and sun. Early afternoon ominous clouds rolled in, and thick snowflakes fell in some parts as I was driving home. Very strange. It was short-lived. Now we’re back into the high teens. Central heating is off during the day and it feels like spring has definitely set in.
As I follow Canadian news, I’m just in awe at winter’s vengeance on the North American continent. Quite the snowstorms and the huge walls of snow.
Interestingly in these parts, there was lots of snow north of us and south of us. It seems like we were in a corridor that got spared most of the harsh winter weather. Quite thankful for the mild winter.
As if to encourage us to believe, trees and shrubs have been in bloom for the last three weeks. The magnolia tree across the street barely containing itself from exploding to life, the next days the glorious blooms heralded spring to the entire neighborhood. Now they’ve already disappeared, making way for tender mint green leaves.
Had my first extended cycle tour. Got lost when I cut through the woods. I overshot one of the villages and ended up much further than planned. It made for an interesting ride home. After 2 ½ hours of hills, I was glad to get home. Downhill was of course a cinch but some of the steep hills I couldn’t quite master yet. It didn’t help that the road was gravelly and muddy in some areas. I was hoping to spot a deer but didn’t have any luck this time. It was a very peaceful ride with nobody in sight for most of the journey. Birds were showing off their operatic talents and my heart just soared at the beauty of natural sounds and sights. Yep, I’m definitely a country girl!
As nature reawakened from its winter slumber, all the trees, shrubs and flowers seemed to joyously announce the impending arrival of Easter. Not that one could forget. In a two to three-kilometer radius, one is greeted by numerous signposts, reminding the passers by the gift God gave to humanity.
SIGNPOSTS ON THE WAY
As I cycled a loop around several villages, I was struck at the many crosses as signposts. As the pictures will attest, quite a few in a short radius. Some crosses had been erected out of gratitude; others to petition blessing on the acres, the land, the farm. Others again to remind us to whom we owe our salvation, should we decide to accept that eternal gift. Small chapels indicating devotion to the Virgin Mary and requesting her intercession for protection.
I paused at each and asked myself whether temporal life had exacted more of my affections and energies, than the eternal citizenship to come. Then it dawned on me, clearer than ever, that without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there would be no Christianity. While the crucifixion and ensuing bloodshed was necessary to purge the sins of humankind, it would have been all for naught without the resurrection. Crucifixion was the preferred execution tool of the Roman Empire. Many came to a violent and excruciating death on the cross. With Jesus Christ the difference was that he not only suffered physically, as others did. He suffered the disgrace of taking upon himself the guilt and iniquity of the world. That act of becoming the scapegoat and suffering our shame, separated him for an instant from the love of his Father. A holy God could not look on the iniquities that were heaped upon the Son; who fulfilled His mission of bringing enduring reconciliation between the Creator and his Creatures.
But all that would have had no impact or outcome without Christ’s resurrection; without His conquering physical and spiritual death for the sake of a fallen humanity. Resurrection therefore is the most liberating and joyous celebration that calls people to return to God and accept the gift of reconciliation achieved by His Son’s death and resurrection. Of all the religious systems and philosophies, none can proclaim a resurrected saint, guru or wise man.
The onus of our spiritual well-being doesn’t rest on our shoulders nor on our efforts to acquire entrance to God’s realm. It hinges entirely on God’s unmerited grace. Through Christ we can be reunited to God if we choose to accept His gift.
On that note, I wish you all a very joyous and blessed Easter!
Check out the story of a refugee mother on my website: http://www.writingsphinx.com/stories-from-afar-2/