Wednesday, April 3, 2013
I don't visit my backyard very frequently in winter, so this time of year, I'm often surprised by the difference a few days can make. Walking out to the compost this evening I saw the peach tree in full bloom, and my breath caught in my chest. Spring has been a long time coming this year, and I am keenly aware of its delay in both body and spirit. The explosion of blossoms caught me off guard, and I finally felt the promises of Easter stirring in my heart.
Recently I've been bogged down in the twenty-something-eth chapters of Leviticus. Just imagine that sucking sound your galoshes make when you pull out of the mud. Yup. That's where I am. But there mired in the directions on which animal to use and which parts of it to burn and who can eat it and who you're not supposed to sleep with and how many years you're not supposed to eat the fruit from a tree you just planted (I'm totally not making that one up!), there when you least expect it God says over and over to be holy because I am holy or because I am the one who makes them holy.
And then I'm reminded by John Owen that holiness is not just an action, but it's also the intention and thought underlying the action, as well as the manner in which we carry out the action. Seriously. I'm already drowning just trying to do the right things sometimes. If I have to analyze my attitude, then I just might as well sit in a corner and give up.
This morning I read in Romans 8 about all creation groaning as in the pains of childbirth along with us, longing for the new creation. I think I've groaned with longing for that new creation so much these past few years some people might mistake me for a zombie. I get stuck in the great mystery of Romans 7, being caught up in the middle of that epic struggle between the old creation and the new creation, the reason for so much of the groaning mentioned in Romans 8. I get so stuck in that struggle that I forget the promise of Easter and a new creation. I forget that my groaning is a sign of Christ's victory. I forget that the promises are real.
And all my forgetting is why I need spring so desperately this year, to remember the promise that all things will be made new, that the present creation is groaning with me in similar anticipation of being made new, and that this kind of groaning is the song of the redeemed right now. But groaning won't be our song forever. One day I'll step outside of this body and into a new creation, and my breath will catch in my chest because everything will be exploding with new life. I will find that I have a new song that was somehow mysteriously forged through all this groaning. That will be a glorious day indeed, and I'm thankful for that reminder from the peach blossoms this evening.