This is certainly one of the most beautiful times of the year to be in one of the most beautiful places. The Walla Walla Valley is blooming on every corner. Every day it seems as though a new tree or flower wakes up and begins to bloom.
At the same time, as one drives or rides a bike or runs or walks through the city, a view of the snowcapped Blue Mountains comes into sight. Bright yellow or pink flowers contrasted with snowcapped mountains against a blue sky is a reminder that weather, and seasons are like life — often about transitions. Currently we are living in spring with the reminder that winter seemed not that long ago. Every now and then, a warm ray of sunshine reminds us that summer is on its way.
As seasons are in transition so is life. No matter what phase we are in it seems as though we are reminded of our earlier days and get glimpses of later, life it seems is always in transition. Some transitions we choose and some we do not.
At every phase of life, we make choices that affect our transitions. The grades one achieves in school, what profession is chosen, who one marries — all these choices affect our transitions. One particular choice or decision sets one on a certain path. With that path, new choices are opened up and others are closed.
All too often we spend time living in the past, concerned about whether or not the right decision was made; that is of little to no benefit. Learn from it, yes, dwell on it, no.
Other transitions we do not choose such as the death of a loved one or being involved in an accident, being hired for a job out of several applicants. Some events are positive, some are not. Like the changing of the seasons, we do not control some things in our life. But we can choose how we react to them. There is a well-known saying that tells us we can let the circumstances of life make us bitter or better. Often, this saying is accurate. The attitude or response we bring to a situation can dramatically impact its effect on us.
Often the choices we make impact how we’re affected by the choices we don’t. Whether we go to see a loved one as they spend their last days in hospice affects how we’re impacted by losing their presence in our lives. How a student prepares for classes over a period of years affects what college he or she chooses, and that has significant impact in life. No we cannot always control what happened to or around us, but we do have the ability to shape and form its impact on us.
As Christians, we’re beginning to celebrate Holy Week as it commemorates the activities of Christ the last week of his earthly ministry. It begins with remembering his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and travels the road of his betrayal, arrest, unjust trial, crucifixion and resurrection.
There never was a more significant transition in the history of the world; the death and ultimate resurrection of Jesus can impact every transition of our lives. When someone disappoints us, we have the ability to forgive because we’ve been forgiven by Jesus Christ, on the Cross. When we feel alone or abandoned, we can remember that Jesus Christ cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When we consider that ultimate transition from death to eternity, we can be assured of destiny because the resurrection of Jesus cancels out the power and sting of death.
I encourage each of us to walk the path of this week — to experience the emotional and spiritual impact of Holy Week. If you are already a Christian, see what new thing God has for you; God is always teaching us and stretching us. This Holy Week can be an important transition if we open hearts, minds and lives to its possibilities. If you are a seeker, explore God’s love for you and the greatness of His mercy; in seeking you shall find. If you are a skeptic, challenge yourself to seriously consider the claims Jesus makes. Give them an honest hearing. Some of the most ardent objectors,w with a truly open mind, have become the greatest believers.
I am grateful to live in such a beautiful place and to celebrate the greatest week in all of human history. I get to see the evidence of the renewal of the Earth, to witness lives being transformed before my very eyes, and to consider the greatest act of both love and power.
I invite you to join me in this adventure, find a church to attend and ask of God the questions and be open to the answers. Happy transitioning, Happy Easter!
The Rev. Albert Gillin is senior pastor of Walla Walla Presbyterian Church. Contact him at 509-525-1093 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by email at email@example.com.