Today’s bright sky is just a tease. On the East Coast, people are digging out of a deep snow storm. Here, the temps will only reach freezing today and tomorrow’s high will be in the forties. To my thin southern California blood, that has never felt warm. More to the point, there are going to be many more cold winter days before new growth begins. Around Easter, that’s when I’ll be taking a clear sky and a windless day as a promise of spring.
So it is with Ash Wednesday. Our church sanctuary will be cozy for the 7 PM service, thanks to a new furnace, but we will know the truth of the cold, cold season when we step back outside. We can enter that place to celebrate the promise of Easter Sunday. But as Christ experienced the bitter chill of desertion and betrayal as well as the heady smell of triumph, we will surely experience days of bitter chill as well as warm perfumed breezes before spring rises triumphant.
One flame burns truer than our new heating unit: Our Risen Savior, once cheating death and once again to cheat time when He returns forever. Allelulia now, in winter, and again in spring. Allelulia!