From what I’ve read so far, the book of Jeremiah does a commendable job of depicting a stereotypical “Old Testament God.” There are lots of warnings and ignorings of warnings, not to mention punishing, repentance, backsliding, and more punishing.
I had a solid reason for delving into this book as part of my “Read the Bible in no particular order” project. I know I did. But frankly, it’s pretty grim stuff. As I’ve made my way through it, I’ve kept thinking to myself, “Good Grief, is this book ever going to change its tune?”
Then I read Chapter 31!
A couple of snippets:
“For I will turn their mourning into joy, Will comfort them, And make them rejoice rather than sorrow. I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance, And my people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord.” – v. 13-14
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Refrain your voice from weeping, And your eyes from tears; For your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord…There is hope in your future.’” – v. 16
I read that chapter and smiled, relieved and comforted (and happy for the Israelites, who finally caught a break). It was the night before Easter Sunday – how’s that for timing? Then, at Mass the next morning, Father Charles told the congregation in his Homily: “Hope has dawned!”
I could write all day long and never cover all the symbolism and significance of Easter. So many grand nouns, so little time: Awakening. Resurrection. Rebirth. Faith. Life. Revelation.
I like this one: Opening.
On Easter and the days following it, we open. We open our minds to the possibility of miracles. We open our hearts to the idea of triumph, of faith being rewarded. We open our eyes to the splendor all around us – no doubt helped by the colors of early Spring blossoms, pretty Easter dresses, all those pastel Easter eggs and of course the oh-so-yummy candy.
Even if you aren’t the church-going type, doesn’t the world as a whole just seem to lighten and brighten on Easter?
I am so very, very glad to have celebrated this day in the midst of marathon tapering. Easter arrives, with its joy and brightness, after a period of preparation, sacrifice, maybe some introspection. It is at once a restoration and validation of hope. Sound familiar, runners?
From a morale standpoint, Easter is one spectacular marathon training aid.
Talk about eye-opening: as I dressed for a recent run, I realized that in the blink of an eye – when I publish this post, it’ll be just over a week – I’ll be milling around in Hopkinton, Massachusetts with thousands of other runners. We’ll all feel restless and excited. Some of us will be focused on a PR, some of us will be thankful simply to be there, some of us will have stomachs so nervous it feels like the butterflies are having a knot-tying contest. We will probably all be looking forward to sampling Samuel Adams’ 26.2 brew after the race. Or during. Whatever.
One thing for certain? All of us will hope.
And that’s a tremendous thing.
Happy tapering to all you April marathoners out there!