The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. [Psalm 126]
Indeed, there are so many people out there (trust me I talk to them almost every day!) who have been ready to shed tears over how long this winter has been. Every new day with the same old blanket of snow and ice seems to bury our souls just a little more.
And so I, like many of you I would bet, welcome this springtime rain as heavenly tears of joy. Even if it means that with the melting of the snow there will be mud and flooding, and salt and garbage to deal with tomorrow.
The Easter season is also for many, a mixed bag of emotions. There are the slow doleful days of Lent gradually building in their intensity until the repentant heart can barely take any more. There are the raw and cleansing tears of Good Friday with all its holy grief. There are the powerful tears of joy, impossible to hold back, at the sight of the risen and victorious Lord. Yes, in the good and the bad, heavenly tears abound. Tears that melt the winter of sin and death, ushering in the spring-time of new life and the promise of everlasting summer.
And so we once again prepare to welcome tears of sorrow, death, and dying; tears of fear and loneliness as they are turned once more into tears of joy, new life, hope and blessed reunions with those who have gone before us.
In preparing to celebrate Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection before the world, we know that there will be unpleasant splash-back. There will be mud flung and garbage cast our way. The world doesn’t want to be reminded of the mess that still needs to be cleaned up. But we don’t mind, because now that Easter has come everything is changed. Life has swallowed up death. Hope has defeated fear, and one day every cold winter tear will be wiped away leaving only Joy behind in our eternal summer!