FROM DARKNESS INTO LIGHT
I made a rare visit to London at the start of February for a travel exhibition at Olympia. As a country bumpkin I usually avoid the place like the plague but you don't waste free tickets to such an event so off we went on the train for the day. You pass through seven tunnels between here and Kings Cross (excluding the final ones into the terminus) and in each case you explode from darkness into light; at least in these days of electric trains there isn't the choking pollution of the steam era but the contrast is very noticeable.
March is about a transition from darkness to light. Winter is finally coming to an end, having dragged its weary length interminably over the past four months. Spring flowers may have softened the blow this year by arriving early but the darkness and cold have only just started to relent. Now spring is imminent, that season of rebirth after the apparent death of the winter months. Time to have the mower serviced, to prune the roses, to see green shoots on trees, to witness reawakening, to do the garden again. For me spring is the most wonderful season of the year, with the promise of summer ahead with all that that stands for -
I am very much a summer person rather than a winter one.
For the Christian Church, March marks the season of Lent, a transition from the Christmas to the Easter season. Most people associate Lent with giving things up and nothing but good can come from that (as long as it doesn't include giving up church attendance!). But this is a time of preparation, of looking ahead to Holy Week and on to Easter. We prepare ourselves spiritually for the tragedy that is the trial and death of Jesus Christ the Son of God, that darkest day in all history. But three days later darkness turns to light in Christ rising again to conquer death, bringing light and hope to all as they contemplate the end of their own lives or mourn those they love. The Church mirrors the season of the year in its theme of darkness becoming light, apparent death leading to rebirth - so this is very much a springtime season for it. This month we look forward to the events that lead up to that tragedy that is Holy Week. As spring reaches its climax next month darkness leads to light - in both the natural and in the spiritual sense.
Very best wishes, Paul Lanham