Springtime seems to be struggling a bit. It’s not catching on, not quite yet, in our part of the country.
But if you look closely, you can find the barest hint of the spectacle to come.
Delicate purple blooms now dot the groundcover in our landscaping beds, for instance. Blink, and you’ll miss them – nearly obscured as they are by fallen oak and maple leaves awaiting the rake.
Tender, endearing violet petals…seemingly overmatched by the detritus all around.
And yet, an excellent display for the beginning of Holy Week, I’ve decided: A simple, honest beauty. Irrefutable, and somehow unbowed by the decay in which they are immersed.
These first-flowers of spring are anything but showy. Not in the least bit full of themselves, but still triumphant.
They call to mind a curious Savior – the Messiah, the profound Mystery upon whom we meditate during this most sacred time of year.
Says the evangelist Mark:
They clothed him in purple and,
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
The Apostle Paul seems mystified, too, about the manner of this humble King, our mind-bending Redeemer:
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself…
There’s more to come, we know, beyond the emptying…beyond the Passion. But perhaps it’s also important that we not hurry past the struggle inherent in these holy days. The weakness. The tenderness. The kenosis.
It’s not in our nature to do so – to embrace struggle, to welcome difficulty, to accept surrender. And perhaps that’s precisely the point: Jesus invites us to follow a path we would never choose on our own. Only then can we connect with…and abide in…the Beauty that endures.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.