Editorial: Spring cometh

For a few days earli­er this week, we thought the East­er Bunny would have to wear ear­muffs and ar­rive on a pair of skis this Sunday. 

Spring ar­rived on the cal­en­dar last week, but the snow that floated down in big fat flakes on Monday, cov­er­ing lawns and bushes, seemed not to know. 

The month’s long stretch of bone-chilling weath­er with brisk winds has dis­rup­ted the spring sports at many area high schools. Prac­tices for base­ball and soft­ball, es­pe­cially, have had to be held in­doors be­cause the fields are still frozen. Early games were can­celed rather than risk in­jury to the play­ers.

For many of us, Old Man Winter can­not exit fast enough. The tem­per­at­ures that have crossed north of 50 over the last few days are teas­ing us in­to think­ing about the Phil­lies open­er, the crack of the bat at the ball­park and warm sun­shine on our shoulders.

All of this comes to mind this week as two ma­jor re­li­gions cel­eb­rate holy days that em­brace grat­it­ude and hope. The hol­i­days of Pas­sov­er and East­er bookend the week.

On Monday night, Jews in the North­east and around the world sat down for Seders that gave grat­it­ude for their an­cest­ors’ free­dom from slavery. They read from Jew­ish texts, Hag­gadot, that con­tain the or­der of the Seder, the bless­ings and the songs. The grownups and of­ten the chil­dren seem to know the Hebrew by heart.

For Chris­ti­ans, this week marks the fi­nal days of Lent, a time of wait­ing and sac­ri­fice. Chris­ti­ans re­mem­ber Je­sus’ last days on Earth and re­flect with grat­it­ude on his sac­ri­fice for their sins. Maun­dy Thursday ser­vices are among the most sol­emn on the Chris­ti­an cal­en­dar. Some churches end their ser­vices by turn­ing out the lights, and pa­rish­ion­ers leave in dark­ness.

Then comes Good Fri­day, the day of Je­sus’ death on the cross, and fi­nally the joy of his re­sur­rec­tion. Who can hear sop­ranos in a church choir sing “King of Kings,” from Han­del’s Mes­si­ah Chor­us on East­er morn­ing, and not think about en­ter­ing the gates of heav­en?

We wanted to pause a mo­ment in this hec­tic week to wish all our read­ers  — Chris­ti­ans, Jews, those who are spir­itu­al and those who are not  — a happy spring. We also wanted to en­cour­age those who are without a faith home to try a new place of wor­ship. You will be sur­prised at how warmly you will be wel­comed, and we pre­dict the hope and grat­it­ude you sense in the air will feel like the breath of spring. ••

You can reach at lswanson@bsmphilly.com.

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