Enduring the Death of Winter

It’s snowing again this morning.  March in southwestern Pennsylvania; it was three times warmer in February!  I wonder if the poor flowers that sprouted early will survive?  Those bulbs beneath the frozen ground eventually bring us the first glimpse of spring.  It is almost here.  I can’t wait!!!  The Gospel does the same this week.

Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we would like to see Jesus."  Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.  Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.  Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be.  The Father will honor whoever serves me.

"I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?  'Father, save me from this hour'?  But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.  Father, glorify your name."  Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it and will glorify it again."  The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; but others said, "An angel has spoken to him."  Jesus answered and said,  "This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.  Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.  And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself."  He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.  John 12:20-33

in the midst of the Passover Feast Jesus’ presence has created a buzz. The Greeks from afar want to see Him. The disciples have their expectations of Jesus’ role but His words continue to puzzle them.  Jesus, on the other hand, clearly understands His purpose.  Jesus provides an unsolicited explanation of the meaning of life and death.  Death must come in order for new life to spring forth. 

Our winters are the same.  All flowers wilt and eventually die in the fall.  Green turns to brown and the snow buries everything in winter white.  And yet hope lies beneath the surface.  The disciples surely struggled to understand the meaning of Jesus' prediction.  Death?  Jesus demonstrated what it meant to live through death.  We are called to do the same.  We must be willing to die to self so that we can live in Him.  This is the harsh reality of the Christian life.  But the beautiful fruit that results is worth enduring, just like our winter!