Spring has arrived. In just a few days March will go out like a lamb and sunny April will be ushered in. In some years, Easter would have already arrived by now too. This year, though, because of the way the moon and the vernal equinox lined up, we are still in the middle of Lent. Easter remains over three weeks away.
Mid-Lent is a good time for reflection. Whatever Lenten practice one has adopted may have been well begun, but by mid-Lent one can see the true length of “forty days.” Resolve to keep going might need to be summoned. It feels to me, for example, that chocolate is still a long way away.
Such is the way of any journey. It is often the middle time, when it is hard to see progress and the end still seems a long way off, when we need encouragement the most.
And just now, encouragement is all around. Daffodils, late this year because of February’s snow, are blooming everywhere on the farm. I hear this weekend will be the height of the cherry blossoms on the UW campus.
And Lamb Watch begins Monday. April Fools Day is a perfect beginning for this mysterious annual vigil as I wait for the first lamb of the year to be born. Lambs always arrive later on my farm than they do on the rest of the island. My neighbor finished lambing over a month ago. But I try to plan lambing here for a time when the weather is warmer and my church schedule is not as demanding. I pay attention to the liturgical calendar in ways my neighbor does not.
The ewes have been on a journey of their own, five months long, and now the end is in sight. But of course it is not just an end. It is a new beginning too.
So for you, wherever you are on your journey- beginning, middle, almost the end, or beginning again- may you find both inner resolve and abundant encouragement this day.