Sunday, March 31, 2013

Resurrection Promises

Death stalks the halls of the hospital, its hand touching the living and showing them a reflection of their mortality. Medicine challenges Death’s hand with diagnoses, treatments and prognoses. Few people die of “old age” any more now that doctors analyze medical images and tests which reveal inside views and provide explanations for most symptoms.

But I observe an increased awareness of the spiritual realm as Death approaches. At the end of life mankind generally acknowledges eternity. I meet very few determined agnostics on a death bed.

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;

And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,

Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.

How my heart yearns within me!

Job 19:25-27

Our hospital chaplain is a devout Christian and I asked her how she counselled people from other faith traditions in a time of need. 

She replied, “Everyone is on a spiritual journey and I just meet them where they are.” 

As I worked this Easter weekend I considered the words of Paul as he defended the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 
Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. 
They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 
They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies.

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, 
this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 
But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Each broken and diseased body I saw today was a reminder of the effects of sin and death.

After the patients were assisted up for breakfast, each empty bed reminded me of the empty tomb and the promise of a new resurrected body.

May the God who gives salvation, peace, comfort and hope through the death 
and resurrection of Jesus Christ bless you this Easter Sunday and for eternity.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

End of March Reds

The end of March has come, not in green or yellow hues, but in bold reds. 
A dogwood twig stands in contrast to the soft white fuzz of the pussy willow.

A male cardinal sings from our leafless lilac branches before dawn 
loudly staking claim to his spring territory.

House finches sing sweetly from the tree tops, an unmistakable and welcome spring melody.

A small flock of Redpolls spent time today at our feeders on their way north to the boreal forests. 
We have never had Redpolls in our yard and I have not seen one for four winters now.

Safe spring travels to you and your mate.

Winter has come to an end and spring is here.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Springtime on hold

“A Robin said: The Spring will never come,
And I shall never care to build again. 
A Rosebush said: These frosts are wearisome, 
My sap will never stir for sun or rain. 
The half Moon said: These nights are fogged and slow, 
I neither care to wax nor care to wane. 
The Ocean said: I thirst from long ago, 
Because earth's rivers cannot fill the main. — 

When Springtime came, red Robin built a nest, 
And trilled a lover's song in sheer delight. 
Grey hoarfrost vanished, and the Rose with might 
Clothed her in leaves and buds of crimson core. 
The dim Moon brightened. Ocean sunned his crest, 
Dimpled his blue, yet thirsted evermore.” 

Christina Rossetti

I took these pictures today on the "un-greenest" St. Patrick's Day in recent memory. I have yet to see a Red-winged Blackbird or Robin in the area even after checking all the usual first places to find them. Then again, I wouldn't wish to see a Robin hopping on the frozen hard lawns in the city right now.

Yet the sun shines hot and bright through the cold air and the days have lengthened out as we approach spring equinox. Finches chatter loudly in the treetops, Northern Cardinals flash noisily in territorial display, Chickadees sing their spring song. And a blue-black Grackle perches high against the bright blue sky, a returning migrant who confirms that Springtime will come eventually.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

"Easter" Snow Sculptures

Winter 2013 brought a lot of snow to our area and inspired the creative sculptor who built these stoic "Easter Island" statues on a front yard in our city this week. I took pictures of them today after work.

Red-winged Blackbirds and Robins always return by the second week of March but there is an exceptional amount of snow remaining on the ground for this time of year. If I was in charge of the weather, I would grant one more week of winter for skiers during the upcoming March break and then  call on spring to melt the snow away gradually.

The snow cover and sunny days have set the stage for a good maple syrup run this month. After last March's summer-like temperatures which ruined many tree crops, we really cannot complain about this winter's slow departure. But I am more than ready for spring to come by the time Easter arrives at the end of the month!!