IVP - Strangely Dim - March Music Madness: It's Been a Long Cold Lonely Winter

March 10, 2011

March Music Madness: It's Been a Long Cold Lonely Winter

For the past month or so, I've had the Beatles hit "Here Comes the Sun" running through my head. It didn't come to mind, I assure you, due to some sudden shift in the Chicago weather whereby the sun appeared in a way that indicated some type of long-term commitment. It was, I think, just wishful thinking.


If you can't tell, we Chicagoans are feeling a little winter-weary. I'm sure George Harrison was truly longing for sun in England, but I'm also sure that any Midwesterner who sings, "It's been a long cold lonely winter" means it more. (George Harrison's stint in southern Illinois was, after all, in the summer.)


It's hard not to feel hopeful when you listen to "Here Comes the Sun," though. (Try it. I dare you. Try not to get out your sunglasses and be optimistic while singing "do do do-do" and "Sun, sun, sun, here it comes" at the top of your lungs. And who doesn't like to be called "little darlin'"?) You can almost smell and see and taste spring as you listen.


We're not just in a physical winter right now, though. As Christians, we're in the season of Lent--a time that can sometimes be cold and sometimes be long and sometimes feel devoid of light. Because it's a season when we contemplate Christ's suffering--his suffering that has saved us, yes, but a deep, deep suffering just the same. And we ponder our own sin--our sin that's the cause of his death, and that causes our own suffering, our own deaths, every day. We sit in silence; we face ourselves and our brokenness; we confess.


But underneath it all--and even right in the midst of the mourning--there is light, shining on our broken places and then revealing who we really are: not sinners but people who belong to God, people in whom Christ dwells. So we receive forgiveness and grace. We create space to be with God in new ways and somehow come to know the depths of his love for us more and more as we contemplate his suffering. And we lean into and long for the light to come in its fullness.


Easter, of course, gives us a glimpse. Moments when we get to participate in bringing God's kingdom reign to places of darkness give us a glimpse. But when Christ returns, his light will reveal all things, and his glory will be beyond anything we can imagine.


This past Sunday, on the morning of my church's Solemn Assembly in preparation for Lent, I read these words from Peter:

Be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. (1 Peter 1:6-9)

This, I think, is Peter's song, reminding fellow believers that even when the winter feels like it will never end, even when the One you thought was the Messiah is killed on a cross and sealed in a tomb, be glad. Trials last "for a little while," but there is wonderful joy--purification and resurrection and revelation--ahead. 

So whether you're winter-weary, or experiencing trials, or mourning your sin: I say it's all right. There's light and sun coming. Trust me, little darlin'. Do do do-do.


Posted by Lisa Rieck at March 10, 2011 10:04 AM Bookmark and Share

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Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

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