Have You Heard the Peepers?
The Spire - May 2014
Easter is over. The trumpets have blown. The Hallelujah Chorus has been sung. All the hidden eggs have been found (hopefully). Christ has risen. Indeed.
It seems such a shame that we carve out 40 days of Lent - smudging our foreheads with ashes, denying ourselves favorite treats, and preparing ourselves for the dirge march through Holy Week - only to have the Easter Sunday “high” wear off faster than the sugar rush of eating too many jelly beans and partaking of too much baked ham. Monday morning we’re back at our desks thinking about widgets and productivity rates, and the following Sunday we head out to the golf course and the mall having done the BIG CHURCH thing the week before. If only we had more time to celebrate the resurrection that we spend 40 days anticipating. Oh, wait. We do have more time! Because Easter is not one day, but 50 days (and that’s 10 more days than Lent, so Easter wins). We are an Easter people. Which is why our Christian calendar gives us 50 days between Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
Now, before you cringe at the thought of spending 50 days wearing your Easter Sunday best and singing Christ the Lord is Risen Today over and over again, lets consider what we mean when we say we are an Easter people. Culled down to three simple words it means this: we have hope. We believe in resurrection. We believe that suffering and death do not have the last word. No matter how bleak or barren a situation appears, life has a habit of rising from the ashes and beginning anew.
We wouldn’t live in New England if we didn’t believe this. We wouldn’t put up with the long hard winters if we didn’t delight so much in the promise of spring. The moment the first green shoot pushes through the thawing ground it’s as if we all breathe a collective sigh of relief, and joy. When the midday temperatures begin to climb, every marsh and pond comes alive with the high-pitched chirp of wakening life. “Have you heard the peepers?” becomes the question we ask one another, replacing our tired remarks about the unending cold and our wonderings if it will ever break. As spring creeps forward with each coming day we take note of every change – the budding trees, the lengthening days, the first warm evening that allows us to sit outside and light the barbecue rather than the pellet stove. It comes natural to us to spend these days delighting over our first sighting of cherry blossoms, forsythia bushes, and humming birds (the bears and the black flies, maybe not so much).
So, it makes sense that our Christian faith gives us 50 days of Easter to delight in “Jesus sightings” – and tell the story of the many times that he appeared to the faithful and doubtful alike before he ascended into heaven. During the 50 days of Easter we find the resurrected Jesus appearing in locked rooms, walking on dusty roads, and serving up breakfast on the beach. You never know where or when he’s going to pop up. Which reminds us to keep our eyes open to the ways that Jesus appears unexpectedly in our everyday lives. In the child who asks us to play a game when we have so much work to get done, in the faces we see every Tuesday we serve at the SHARE community meal, in the neighbor who mows our lawn because we no longer have the energy to do it ourselves. We see Jesus in those who serve us and those we’re called to serve. And at the end of long hard day - and a long cold winter - who doesn’t want to see a sign of resurrection pushing up through the frozen ground?
Have you heard the peepers? Take all the time you want to delight in their song…even 50 days. Christ has risen, indeed! Halleluiah and amen!
Peace and blessings,