with adoration and awe, we stand before an empty tomb
with thanksgiving and gratitude, we bow before an empty cross.
Help us to recognize the barren cross and the open tomb
as symbols of your victory over suffering and death.
Grant that we may know the power of your resurrecting love
breathing life into our dying,
sprouting seeds of love within our barren hearts,
and sweeping away the cobwebs of resignation and apathy in our minds.
Risen One, show us in the emptiness of our lives,
the fullness of your glory. Amen.
Appearing to have buried their branches and kicked up their roots, the deciduous trees know the secret of winter is to withdraw the life force to the deeper inner parts and wait. Flowers bid farewell to their petals and leaves and recede into the bulb and the branch and the root awaiting a day when conditions will be more favorable for tender growth. The animal world stores fat and food, burrows down for a long rest, or flies to fairer grounds. “Reassess your situation,” Winter warns. “Retreat from the presumptions and assumptions which you acted upon in positions of plenty, privilege, and power. Abandon the excess of my seasonal friends and remember your tenuous place in the universe.”
In a slightly gentler voice, Old Man Winter speaks, “Know death that encircles the life ember without snuffing out Life. Know death that calls us to the deep mystery of our souls, far beneath the showy blossoms of our intellect or our actions. Know death that can be the only path for another Spring. For I, Winter, cradle Life within me.”