Greetings WAC Community,
Springtime and Starting Over
On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover. The priests and Levites had purified themselves and were ceremonially clean. The Levites slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for the brothers the priests and for themselves. So the Israelites who had returned from the exiles ate it, together with all had separated themselves from the unclean practices of their Gentile neighbors in order to seek the Lord. – Ezra 19-21
When I was in the eighth grade, my teacher, Mr. Love (really, that was his name), sponsored a writing contest on the topic, “What Easter Means to Me?” I got $10 for first prize. I only remember that I quoted an affirmation of faith that we recited every Sunday in my Methodist Church where my family attended. Jesus suffering, dying and coming to life again is what Easter meant to me. He Lives remains my favorite Easter hymn.
The girl in my class who got second place wrote that Easter is when she got a new dress. I thought at the time that it was too bad that she did not understand the true meaning of Easter. But now I realize that for her she did. We grew up in the foothills of Appalachia in southeastern Ohio where poverty prevailed. Few, if any, in my small hometown earned above the poverty line, although I don’t know that we thought of ourselves as poor. My family was rich; we didn’t have dirt floors as some of our neighbors and got in-door plumbing by the time I was 10. So getting a new dress in the spring was a big deal. It was a symbol of a new, fresh start.
Passover for Jews, including Jesus and his disciples, was a celebration of the Israelites being liberated from Egypt and the oppression they had suffered. They got a chance for a new start. The exiles described in the scripture above would have been about April 21, 516 BC, according to scholars, and they have come together, including those who had strayed from the Jewish practices, to celebrate the chance to start over and to let go of a difficult past.
Spring is a time of starting over. Winter is coming to an end. New life miraculously springs from the earth. Spring cleaning takes place. In a few more weeks we can plant seeds with hope for a summer or fall harvest. It’s new life. It’s a second chance, or maybe even third and fourth chance. Those in exile come back into the spiritual community to be together again.
With all that we see that needs to be fixed in our broken world, we are blessed to know that time and time again, we are given the opportunity to start over. It will never be the same as the “good old days (that never really were),” but we can always begin again. Spring, Passover, Easter . . . is especially a good time for making a better future. And we don’t need to do it alone. In fact, starting over should be in community. Together, we will make a difference that matters.
Fear not. Be bold. Do justice.
P.S. We are still looking for a chair of the Peace & Justice Team of the Wyoming Association of Churches. If you might be interested in chairing or being on the team, let me know. 307-761-0755.
The Wyoming Association of Churches appreciates your many financial gifts for our justice work in Wyoming for the oppressed. Click here. Or mail your contribution to WAC, PO Box 1473, Laramie, WY 82073. You may designate your gift to the Wind River Native Advocacy Center.