Exodus 15:22-16:10; 1 Peter 2:1-10; John 15:1-11
Psalms 119:1-24 * Psalms 12, 13, 14
Spring feels like it is finally here. Although it hasn't been a harsh winter, it certainly feels like it has been a long one and I am ready for warmer, sunnier days where I can be outside more comfortably dressed. Nature certainly seems to be ready with flowers popping up, bushes blooming and trees budding all around us. In Washington, the Cherry Blossom Festival is in full swing, with throngs of people down along the tidal basin enjoying those fragile flowers.
Eastertide seems early this year, because it is, but there is something wonderful about Easter being so early - with these tangible elements of new life popping up all around us at the same time we are celebrating these 50 days of Easter and Jesus' resurrection from the dead. My balcony plantings are blooming as well, giving me an up-close and personal interaction with the wonders of nature in its early life after a long and quiescent winter.
Our OT lesson today continues the early sojourn of the Israelites after their escape from Egypt, and their beginning complaints about not having water or food enough to survive. Of course, God does provide water and food for them, a springing of life providing resurrection power to them to continue on their very long trek to the Promised Land. While the Gospel of John provides us with the image of Jesus being the true vine and we, his disciples, are the branches: for his disciples all of us are who call ourselves Christian. John reminds us that Jesus instructs us to keep his commandments - which Jesus reminds us often in Scripture has chief among them to love God and our neighbors as we love ourselves. God provides and we are loved and told to abide in that love. And we in turn are to love, love completely and entirely, not exclusively but inclusively. A very tall order for us frail beings who find it hard to like people, let alone to love them.
Truly, signs of resurrection life can be found in this love we are given and are called to give, no matter how hard we find it to give.