Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter, spring, and resurrection

It's April 16th, Easter Sunday, and hard to believe spring began about a month ago. The temperature in Oslo today is no higher than about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and during the night it was below freezing. It is supposed to remain cold like this for the next week or so. And that's put a dent in some of my plans for the garden. It's been too cold to spend a lot of time there (I'm usually there for three or four hours when I first set out to do some work), although I have been there several days this past week to clean up a bit more and to check on the tulips and crocuses I planted last fall. They have poked their heads up but it's been slow going. I just hope that the berry bushes that have begun to sprout new leaves won't be affected by the freezing cold.

There is nothing to be done about the weather. It never behaves as you would like it to. A month ago the temperature was closer to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and it was a warm sun that shone down on those of us working in the garden. I have used this past week (I took the entire Easter week off) to do other things--finish my Norwegian and American taxes, clean the house, wash curtains and blankets--in other words--tasks that I never have the time for when I am working full-time. So that's been good. I have no problem filling my time. There is still a list of chores to be done.

I have also spent some time reading the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament, and must admit that I've really enjoyed reading this account of the early days of the new church with Simon Peter as its head. As I've read it, I've consulted the National Geographic magazine issue Jesus and the Origins of Christianity (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683306775/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1),
specifically the maps showing the places that both Jesus and the Apostles frequented, in order to get a feel for how things 'looked' at that time. I'm glad to have finally run across publications that present the history of the early church. It has given me a new perspective on how things that we take for granted came about. I got a taste of this in college in one of the theology courses I took, where we spent part of the semester studying the evolution of the early church and the various movements that sprang up within it, all competing for power and authority.

We celebrate the resurrection of Christ at Easter time. It is no coincidence that Easter and spring are coupled together. The resurrection of life in nature--trees, flowers, bushes--is a miracle that happens each year. Even if you were not a spiritual person, you'd have to marvel at the beauty of this occurrence each year. As I grow older, it is the natural world I feel more drawn to, and less to the world of commerce and work. I suppose if I looked hard enough at the latter, I would find something that would trigger a spiritual awakening. But I find that to be too much work; frankly speaking, most of the work world has little to do with spirituality and the quest for a better self. It mostly has to do with competition, power, prestige, and greed (it makes me laugh when I realize that you could be the top leader in a department during your work life, but when you retire and have been gone for some years, no one will really remember you--new generations overtake the old--that is the way of work life and more people should remember that in their manic craze to get to the top and to stay there). It is easier in nature to see what God intended for our lives, especially where the miracles of life and rebirth are concerned. The rebirth in nature shows us that we can be reborn each year as well; it is never too late to start anew. It is comforting to know that there is a resurrection of life each year, around this time, and that we can count on that in the years to come.

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