Faith Forum: What does spring symbolize in a religious context?
The Rev. Gary O’Flannagan, pastor, Cornerstone Southern Baptist Church, 802 W. 22nd St.:
While many religions celebrate the coming of spring, what they are really celebrating is nature.
But the celebration of nature falls short when we experience the season of Easter on a personal level. Easter is celebrated during nature’s season of spring and like the season of spring, Easter is about new life.
Just as winter symbolizes death, spring symbolizes new life. Trees, plants, fields are beginning to turn green; across Kansas new life is emerging from the ground. The Christian faith is about new life all year round, but especially so during Easter — something died but now lives again. In Christianity it’s not something but Someone.
The New Testament says in 2 Corinthians 5:5:17: “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” NIV.
Our new life, our new creation, springs from Jesus Christ. Just as plant life re-emerges from the earth during spring and can’t be held back, the earth could not hold Christ, He emerged and because Christ came up from the ground, our new life comes from knowing Him, belonging to Him, worshipping Him, not nature or nature’s things.
Easter isn’t about candy or painted eggs or cute little bunny rabbits. Easter is about celebrating the miracle of new life that is possible because Jesus Christ rose up from the grave and He gives new life to every person who responds to Him. Jesus once said, John 10:10: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” NIV. This spring celebrate Jesus Christ in Easter, because He is risen, not dead. Nature will die again and again, but new life, eternal and abundant, springs from Jesus Christ; celebrate Him.
— Send email to Gary O’Flannagan at email@example.com
The Rev. Kent Winters-Hazelton, pastor, First Presbyterian Church, 2415 Clinton Parkway:
This morning, as I was walking my dog in the crisp air of a fresh dawn, I saw children waiting for their school bus dressed in shorts and shirt sleeves and their parents heading for work similarly attired: spring has arrived. And with spring comes a welcomed sense of renewal.
Spring represents an awakening. Its many images and symbols speak of our rejuvenation, our coming out of winter’s hibernation with energy and enthusiasm for what comes next. The song of the birds in the park, the grass already in need of mowing, and the first shoots of color bursting forth from the dormant winter soil in our gardens. One of the images of spring that stays with me every year comes as we await the first pitch of opening day: everyone with a fresh record, every team an equal, and no errors to blemish the season’s outcome.
Life, with all its challenges, is seldom easy. In the face of those discouragements and difficulties, we need those things that lift up our spirits: families and friends, the greening of our neighborhoods, the quest for the Final Four (an allusion perhaps more territorial), and the burst of new life that comes each spring.
Among the many strengths and attractions of every religious tradition is the language and invitation of hope, growth and new beginnings. This is true in the Christian tradition, which has as its central motif the Christ coming to life again from the grave. Even the name Easter is drawn from a spring festival that pre-dates the Church called, “eastre.”
As the writer Virgil Kraft once put it, “Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world.” Or as my wife said as I was leaving for work, “I’ve got to get out to my garden.”
— Send email to Kent Winters-Hazelton at firstname.lastname@example.org.