Saturday was one of those days that seem too good to be true.
It was true for about 24 hours, then the chilly reality of March returned for an extended engagement.
I enjoyed the gift of Saturday while it lasted.
Sunday was St. Patrick’s Day. While I thought about Patrick and the Irish throughout the day, I really didn’t participate in any traditional festivities.
I didn’t don green and I didn’t eat corned beef and cabbage.
St. Patrick did get a brief mention at church Sunday. Even if the traditional narrative of Patrick’s accomplishments contains various legendary elements, the history of the Irish is a remarkable saga.
As far as I can determine, I do not have any Irish heritage. But Jane is a good bit Irish and won’t let me forget.
Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. We don’t commemorate Palm Sunday with a great deal of pageantry at our church, but we do recall the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem as well as the subsequent betrayal and crucifixion.
Because we don’t have a Good Friday service, I consider it critical that we acknowledge the passion and death of Jesus on Palm Sunday. Otherwise, the sunshine of Palm Sunday leads directly to the bright dawning of Easter, and we simply leap-frog over the suffering and death of Jesus.
People outside the Christian faith, of course, tend to be puzzled anyway by the phenomenon of a suffering and dying Savior.
It remains a mystery even to those of us who know it most closely.
Maybe the chillier days of spring are appropriate to a state of spiritual reflection, a spirituality that considers the cost of grace as well as its abundance.
The limitless joy of Easter is right around the corner.
In the meantime, however, we see in our own lives and in our neighborhoods, towns, state, nation and world the lingering effects of sin.
On a personal note, I continue to surprise myself (though it should come as no surprise at this point) with my capacity for irritability, insensitivity, ingratitude, irresponsibility and all the other habits of heart and mind that I should have learned to avoid a long time ago.
Surely the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
But maybe the spirit sometimes is less willing than it could be, too.
The good news is that there is healing available even for the reluctant will.
As I turn the corner past St. Patrick’s Day and look toward Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter, I do so in the confidence that I know a Savior who is a healer.
The Light of Jesus is enough to bring light even to the darkest corners of the human heart, where we try to hide our prejudices and excuses.
I see both in myself and in the world all around me a need for this healing light.
Spring brings new life to the natural world, and Easter and the events that lead up to it represent new life for the spirit.