21.4.16

Waiting for spring

"Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, 
not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime" 
-Martin Luther

Home looks more and more beautiful every time I come back.  I grew up thinking the valley was drab and brown, at least compared to the green forests and blue waters of Seattle's side of Washington.  But having traded four seasons for two (wet and dry...both hot), I see with fresh eyes what these four seasons do to a place: leaves die, frost covers, buds shoot, and life flourishes.

Seasons are a good way to practice waiting.  We got lucky and jumped straight into Spring; we didn't feel the long, snowy winter or see the bare trees.   We see life and blossoms and smell lilacs in the air.  I feel like I've cheated and skipped to the front of the line, but this a beautiful time to visit.  What a gift this fresh, new life is to us.
We have been enjoying sunny afternoon walks through the neighborhood.  I've gotten so used to high-rise apartment living and being surrounded by people and their noise all the time that I never have to guess if the neighbors are home because we can hear them and see them.  Things here are so quiet, and it strikes me how tucked away people are, behind gates and fences, driveways, and giant green yards.  I wonder how we are alike and how we are different.  If we are asking God for the same things, if we struggle with the same things, if we live for the same things, or something different.  I used to think my neighbors in Penang were so very different from me: they look different, speak a different language, and worship a different god.  The more I get to know them, the smaller the differences are and the more similar we become.  People here look like me and speak like me and might even go to church on Sunday like myself, but oh, how different we can be!  
I read in Luke 23 (v. 51) this week about the man that buried Jesus.  Joseph of Arimathea was, as Luke describes, "waiting expectantly" for the kingdom of God.  In other translations, he was looking for the kingdom.  As far as I can see it, this is what makes us different.  We can go to church on Sunday, we can pray before our meals, and we can even pack up and move overseas as a missionary. Believe me because I know, that we can do all these things with surprisingly little sacrifice or even faith.  Sometimes faith comes easily and sometimes it is hard.  The practice of waiting, and of actively looking refine's ones' faith and makes it hardy and strong.  Joseph was waiting because he had faith, but he also had faith because he was waiting.  I wonder if he realized that day that Spring was just around the corner.   

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