St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church


St. Bart's Blog

A Journey From Life to Death to Resurrection

Posted by The Rev. Mark McKone-Sweet on

Today I walked by Milldam Nursery School in Concord, Massachusetts, where there is a small strip of grass that runs under the windows and along the foundation of the classrooms. As a child, after school on Tuesdays, which was a half day for me, I walked to Milldam, where my mom worked. You would find me outdoors assisting the preschool teachers with their extended day. It was on that day each week that I always felt the love of God profoundly, regardless of how my week had been.

If you had passed by, you would have thought there was no jungle gym on the playground, as the children used me as their model play structure, literally hanging from my back or my arms. And when I got down on the strip of grass and made a table with my body, the children could be seen climbing on my back and jumping off, or leaping over me. I can recall the laughter and joy, year after year. Despite all the challenges in each of our lives, the power of God’s love was undeniably tangible.

There is a saying that March arrives with the roar of a lion and leaves like a lamb. As soon as winter releases its grasp, shoots emerge from the soil, green stems surge to the sky, and soon, flowers blossom and bees feed on them. Indeed, even the bees have survived the harsh winter.

Here in Southern California, the amazing blooming hills and valleys of flowers have painted a mosaic that gladdens our hearts. From what is ordinarily hot, sun-parched, dusty land, becomes fertile ground for raging fires, comes new life and breathtaking beauty. Thanks to the roar of March after a long winter.

Easter Sunday arrives during this passage from death to life, from darkness to light, from dull browns to an array of color beyond our imagination—each year.

I had every reason to question God then, just as you, too, may have questioned. Countless occasions are given us to question God—desert moments. I have to admit, it’s weeks like this when I believe God transforms nature into a billboard of life. It’s a beautiful sign of hope, made real and tangible—God wrapping all of us in his steadfast love.

I invite you to join us on our shared pilgrimage from the wilderness to new life in Jesus Christ, made real and tangible in the practice of recalling Jesus’s journey from life to death on the cross, to resurrection—to new life.

We also commemorate this wondrous transition with other markers:

  1. If you seek to know Jesus, we welcome you to be baptized. All are encouraged to experience this physical and outward sign of God’s love for you and others.
  2. If you seek to discover and proclaim your faith in Jesus, we welcome you to embrace the Episcopal Church as your spiritual home through confirmation or reception.
  3. If you would like to give thanks for those who have gone before us and been restored with Jesus, or for life in our midst today, we invite you to offer petitions of flowers and music.

And as we enter Holy Week, we take up palms to continue our journey to the cross and then beyond.

May your journey this Lent continue to embrace you and invite you into a deeper relationship with God and with God’s people.