A couple of weeks ago a thoughtful church member shared with me the following link to an internet site: http://www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles. This link is to a webcam that provides live 24 hour coverage of a pair of bald eagles and their three young eaglets that hatched earlier this month. The nest is 80 feet in the air, atop a research center in far away Iowa. For the last two weeks in between writing, emails, naps and phone calls I have watched this nest of eagles feed on rabbit, survive a blanket of snow, houseclean their nest and stare icily at the hidden camera. It is a reality show like none you have ever seen on television.
While the eagles laid their eggs back in late February, thirteen years ago insects all throughout the Deep South were doing the same thing. I am certain not a one of us noticed this event in our yards but now we can hear the results. Cicadas! Specifically, “Periodical Cicadas” and they are called so because they come out every thirteen years. The males give off a steady “buzz” during the day that at times sound like a pulsating hum. Their empty shells can be found clinging tenaciously to leaves, stems and bark.
Eagles and cicadas and spring time in general remind us that the earth is alive and new life abounds. God is not just about doing new things in nature, but I believe is working for newness in each and every life. That is one of the lessons that we are reminded of in the Easter season. Like the cicadas that are leaving behind the papery shells of their outer garment, we too have to leave the old behind in order to fully enter the new.
Resurrection is a calling to cast off the grave cloths; leave them behind like the cicadas of your childhood – empty and lifeless shells – and walk into the future God has waiting for you. Granted, to do so is risky. Sometimes the old and familiar past, while not life giving, can give us a notion of security and a misleading sense of peace.
Just think, when the cicadas were laying their eggs thirteen years ago my son Clark was starting kindergarten. Now, in about a month, he is about to graduate. While there is nostalgia and sentiment in thinking of those early days when he was just a small child with a bad haircut and his biggest challenge was who he would sit with in the school lunchroom, we cannot look back. There is a future waiting for him. He has a song yet to be sung, and of course so do we, his aging parents!
The Easter Season is the embrace of the familiar story line “happily ever after” and I believe this is what God has written for you and me. Let the world throw to us its worst. And I know that many of us walk in the muck and mire of human desperation. Resurrection is the counter-message that God’s story is bigger than any other we will encounter or even imagine.
…for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come. (Song of Solomon 2:11-12)
In Baptism we are reminded of Paul’s Easter words: Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
Christ has Risen; He has Risen Indeed! Indeed,