The sun is just starting to push its way above the horizon, and last year’s fallen leaves are etched in frost. The woods quiver with birdsong, a crescendo that rises as the light becomes more brilliant. We wander slowly down the dirt trail, my friend, my daughter and I. Listening. Absorbing.
We met at a coffee shop before setting out, blearily forcing down breakfast sandwiches while most of the city slept sound under the light of a round, white moon. The coffee helped a little, but the cold morning air that now stings my face brings me fully awake. Watching nature shake off darkness is worth losing a few hours of sleep.
As we cross a small river, a pair of trumpeter swans glide under the bridge—a species almost extinct not long ago. My friend points out a muskrat barely rippling the water as it noiselessly swims upstream. Red-winged blackbirds perch in bare tree tops, their calls heralding the slow approach of spring.
Further alongside the trail, yellow coltsfoot pushes through the ground, an early wildflower straining against the frost. On the trees, the buds swell fat and round without bursting—just like a long pregnancy, my friend comments. It’s true. There are signs of spring all around, yet spring is slow to come. There are signs of life, yet not the fullness of life.
Today is the Saturday wedged between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Yesterday, many of us cried tears of gratitude for the cross. Tomorrow, we joyously celebrate the resurrection. And today?
Today is a day of quiet anticipation.
I don’t know how to explain what it feels like to know that the darkness in me—the darkness that is me—has been crucified with Christ. And when the angel rolled that stone away and the tomb burst open with the brilliance of divine life? Because of that, even in my biggest mess, my soul also shines with His brilliance.
It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.
The promise of life now and the promise of eternal life to come have been fulfilled.
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” (Romans 3:23-24)
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
The woods and the trees and the sunshine are beautiful, but nothing compares to the beauty of redemption.
The beauty of Jesus.