I had just finished clearing the driveway, and was putting the snow blower away, when I saw several deer emerge from the woods next to the parsonage, and leave tracks through fresh fallen the snow as they traveled to the shelter of the woods to the South. Since then, the morning’s first light has revealed the tracks of a rabbit, a fox, a crow, and more deer in the snow around and about us. Each set of tracks is a reminder that in the dead of this hard winter, life is all around us.
Lent says that, too.
After forty days and forty nights of rain, Noah stays in the ark until a dove returns with a sign that life has returned to the earth.
After miles of traveling, and years of waiting Abram looks to the stars and puts his faith in promise of a new name until the day a ninety-nine year old Sarah and a one hundred year old Abraham are parents to Isaac.
After years of praying, and countless days in the desert, Moses ascends to the top of Mt. Sinai, and returns with word of the ways that will keep Israel living with God in the Promised Land.
Miles from home with too many scores to count between them, God promises the exiles in Babylon a new covenant in which their sins will be remembered no more, and his word written on each heart, so they will each know the Lord.
Under cover of night, a heart bent on God comes to a young rabbi named Jesus who Nicodemus believes to be sent by God to reveal the kingdom of God, and goes home with a born again life.
On a dark Friday, Jesus is crucified. One disciple has betrayed him. Another has denied him. Many more have deserted him. Only the few at his cross hear him pray as a God forsaken soul. Then, as he offers his spirit into the hands of his Father, the curtain of the temple is torn in two, an earthquake springs long dead saints from the grave, and three days later an empty tomb proclaims that in his death there is life.
Life is all around us.
Each rainbow is a sign of God tied to our lives. Each word of God a call to choose and live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Christ’s empty tomb a once and forever moment that frees us to give God this day and every tomorrow.