Submitted by Pastor Donna Clark Fuller, United Methodist Church, Rock Port
“Let the earth open, that salvation may spring up,” Isaiah 45:8
In the Christian calendar, we are in the season of Lent. Lent is an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning simply the season of spring. Although technically the season of spring does not begin until March 20, many Christian traditions recognize the season of Lent as the forty days before Easter (not counting Sundays.) The forty days reminds us of the time Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, a day of humbly remembering our humanity, a time of introspection, and a time of repentance. In the early church people chose to fast on certain days, and many still choose times of fasting during Lent. Others might decide to give something up during Lent, something unhealthy to either body or spirit.
However, there is another meaning to the word spring. We talk of what happens when things emerge out of the ground in the season of spring and we say they “spring up from the earth.” It is one of the most wonderful times of year as the weather warms and new life starts springing up out of the ground after a cold winter. It is amazing to see many plants that look dead all winter suddenly come to life. It reminds us of the life our Creator can create, life with the strength to withstand the cold temperatures of winter.
The verse from Isaiah tells us that the people of Israel were waiting a long time for salvation to come, and it gives us an image of salvation springing up from the ground like the new plants that come up as soon as the weather gets warm. However, salvation came not with the warmer days of spring, but with Jesus coming down to earth. Salvation did not come from a God far away, in a heaven that is hard for us humans to see. It came instead from a God who came down and put feet on the ground just like us humans. In Jesus’ time on earth, he gave us many stories with images of life springing up out of the earth, and came to be known himself as a lamb. Lambs are signs of new life in spring, but they are also signs of sacrifice. Jesus as the Lamb of God is the sacrifice that brings salvation.
So this spring as you see new life coming out of the earth, remember Jesus’ time on earth. Remember the salvation and the life that came from that time on earth.