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Chaplain's Corner: Expectant hope buds with the approach of spring

By Army Chaplain (Maj.) Will Harrison | JBER Chaplain | March 11, 2015


The "Chaplain's Corner" offers perspectives to enhance spiritual/religious resiliency in support of Air Force and Army Comprehensive Fitness programs.

Comments regarding specific beliefs, practices, or behaviors are strictly those of the author and do not convey  endorsement by the U.S. government, the Department of Defense, the Army, the Air Force, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, or the 673d Air Base Wing.

With an exceptionally warm winter this year, many of us are already in the thick of preparation for spring and summer activities. The doldrums of winter have been mild and we feel the light increase daily.

The annual cycle of birth and death is preparing to begin again as the sun rises higher and new life begins to break through. We can feel the expectation in our own lives and growing sense of hope with each passing day.

Throughout the history of the world, religions have recognized this cycle of life and death that is marked in the seasons. Groups have identified and worshiped deities based on this cycle and spiritual myths have been woven to explain and celebrate this yearly pattern that we move through.

It is the myth of the creating god bringing life to the world, then dying to nourish the world and rising to new life, bringing the creation with it.

This myth exists in ancient African, Middle Eastern, Asian, Nordic, North American, and European religions. It is something that we all can sense and see in the world around us. That connection to the earth draws many people to worship in and through this myth. Even Christians participate in this - though in a significantly different manner.

Christianity claims that this is not merely myth, but rather that the myth is a reminder - a type, a preparation - of reality.

Christians believe this myth we see all around us actually happened, and that the cycle of life is reflective of God's actions in and through Jesus Christ on behalf of the creation. As C.S. Lewis said, Jesus is the myth made real.

It is in Jesus Christ, Christians say, that the creator brought about the world and filled it with life. It was for the love of this world that Jesus died, and through his death and resurrection the world can be brought to new life.

It is no mistake the highest Christian holy day, Easter, takes place in the spring.

It is a recognition by Christians that new life comes through Jesus Christ's resurrection.

That this new life does away with the barren deadness that marks our lives apart from our creator. It is both the culmination of God's efforts to stop the advance of death and the initiation of a life lived in a new created order.

For many people, the cold barrenness of winter, even a mild one, is reflective of their own inner barren deadness and they see no spring coming in the months ahead. It is difficult to live without hope and without the prospect of new life.

If that is you, consider looking at the ways in which billions of people throughout the world have addressed the barrenness of their own soul. Patterns help us; myths bring meaning and power to our lives. And myths that are more than myth, that are real, can change a life to bring the inner warmth and life of a new birth in the soul.

And for those who have that spring, and feel the budding hope of new life, consider those around you. It is very easy to get wrapped up in our own experiences and our own preparations for the activities ahead. Look at those around you who may not be able to share your joy and expectant hope.

Share that joy that is in you with those that may not have it. Invite them to participate in your springtime celebrations and experience the myth made real in your own life.