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Rector's Reflections

Rector’s Reflection – March 2024

By March 21, 2024No Comments

Beloved St. John’s community,

You have all undoubtedly noticed the theme recently showing up everywhere at St. John’s: using both the “Small Book” of Scripture and the “Big Book” of Nature to learn about the nature of God, ourselves and all that exists. These are like two luminous threads weaving in and out of each other, dancing around one another, in a beautiful tapestry that is Life as we know it.

One of the most important instances of this interplay between our tradition and what nature teaches us about God is the timing of Easter to correlate with the Spring Equinox.  Officially, the spring equinox occurs when the entire world experiences exactly the same and equal amounts of light and darkness. Everyone, from the wilderness of Alaska to the jungles of Brazil and those stationed on Antarctica, gets exactly twelve hours of sunlight and twelve hours of darkness. This year, March 19 at 10:06pm CST –Tuesday night—was the time this alignment occurred.

Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. The ancients were trying to say that in every sense—in the rhythms of Sun, Moon and story—Easter is when light and life and hope begin again. After the Spring Equinox, the light is greater than the darkness in the northern hemisphere. The robins appear on our lawns, looking for worms. The wild turkey toms strut and show off their plumage. Soon, buds will appear on the trees, shoots will come up from the earth, and all of life will be born again.

It’s not that the darkness of winter is inherently bad. It’s not that night is evil. We all need the natural rhythms of day and night, summer and winter, dark and light that are part of the natural order. But joy does come in the morning. Hope and growth come with spring. And in the story of our tradition we will honor and journey through next week, Jesus—who has been destroyed by the collusion of religious leadership with empire, betrayed by his disciples and friends, and publicly humiliated, tortured and killed—comes back to us. He rises from the dead. The implication is that no power in heaven or earth is ultimately strong enough to forever destroy the joy, life and love that Jesus embodies and passes along to us.

Just as nothing can cause the earth to stop spinning; and nothing can prevent seeds from germinating and buds to open into flowers, birds to lay their eggs; just so, nothing can prevent love from conquering violence and death. Always, the force of love and inherent sacredness within Life allows us to begin again.

As you walk through Holy Week, beginning on Palm Sunday March 25, I invite you to make space in your life to see these rhythms of dark and light at play in your life. If you have never made time for the full sweep of Holy Week—Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday—consider coming to each service and allowing their meaning to saturate you. Allow yourself to encounter the living God in exactly those parts of you that need hope. Let yourself wake with the dawn and take in the signs of spring, and allow new life to be born in you again.

In Christ’s love,