Little green shoots are starting to overcome the dead brown grass of last summer; the warmth of the sun is still just a fleeting touch now and then – but the robins are out.
The river is slowly gathering momentum, murmuring a promise of the spring race about to start and all the wild creatures are gathering in the hidden corners of the ranch. The babies are playing tag in the field and king of the castle on some of the dirt piles, and dad’s busy burning brush piles from the big blowdown last year.
I could spend my time writing about the visitors we’ve had at the cabins (and by visitors I mean the geese and the ducks, the beaver and the squirrels.)
This morning, however, I’m thinking of grandpa.
Grandpa was mostly quiet about his faith; he wasn’t preachy. He liked to talk farming with his neighbours, and his days were full of the practical work of putting things back together, be it cows, fences, or machinery. I think the older he got, the quieter and softer his replies – at least to me. But today is Easter, and he would be thinking of the one who “cast his sins into the farthest sea.” (so he said to me in his last days).
There’s something we believe in the day to day life of the farm, an underlying presence beneath the growing alfalfa, the birth of the babies and the rising sun. Even in the face of things like cows that die giving birth or when the rain doesn’t come like it’s supposed to. There’s this thought, always, of Love and its power.
There was a man, long ago. Some people think he was just a man. Others think he held the power of life and death in his hands. Always, he chose life over death. Always he spoke love over fear. There’s a message in his life – and even more of one in his death…
that he was willing to hold love out no matter what, to no matter who.
He chose invitation over force, and his power was in gentleness over might. They say he could have destroyed the earth… if he wanted. But instead he pulled all the hatred, and the fear; all the things of destruction, and the things of hurt into his arms, and he held them close and he carried them with him when he climbed up on the cross. So that he could be the one to bear it, all the meanings and causes of pain.
Why did he do it though, that’s the question…
I think it says something about joy in one of the old letters that talks about him… in fact I know it was for JOY. Because he could look ahead and grin, he could see when in the end all that pain gave him you, and me. Because pain and fear and death is never the end – not with him.
If you met Grandpa today, sitting at his kitchen table with a bun full of plum jam in his hand – he would look at you with a twinkle in his eye, and he would say in a sort of traditional way, “He is risen.” And what that twinkle in his eye meant, was that he had a knowledge of how high and wide and long and deep is the love of that man Jesus – the one that lived so long ago and died and now speaks to Grandpa intimately from the other side of the pain – from the joy side.
Happy Easter everyone. May you feel loved today.