Easter

Viriditas

By The Rev. Elizabeth Rechter

As a preacher, I live in the world of words. I am always gathering up words to share. Sometimes they are words to teach, sometimes to encourage and sometimes to challenge.

I love words. I love their companionship.  Words put flesh on things. I love that God is known as the Word and that Jesus is that Word made flesh so we can hear and know God in the daily. Often when I am weary and feel disconnected from the world or from God, I know that opening the Script and reading just a verse or two is the quickest road home.

On occasion in the world of words, I come across a new word that delights me and opens a place in my heart. Several years ago I found such a word while reading the works of Hildegard of Bingen. It is the Latin word viriditas which means greening. But Hildegard couldn’t use this word without God. It is God who greens. Viriditas to her was the greening power of God. We know viriditas when we experience springtime. It is a power no one can hold back when it comes. Think of all the power unleashed when grass begins to come forth, each blade pushing up out of the soil, meadow after meadow. And the power needed for millions of blossoms to unfold or the force that brings forth the birds’ new songs? It is the greening power of God.

And this is what we celebrate at Easter, ready or not.  Viriditas was at the tomb waiting for the disciples to encounter it. Death is done. Life breaks forth because it is the nature of God to green. It’s what happened inside the blind man when he met Jesus. It is what was going on when the Samaritan woman sat with Jesus at the well. Greening was happening, slowly but for sure. And for Lazarus, Martha and Mary, springtime had come.  Whenever the Christ is encountered the greening power of God is with us.

I pray for your encounter with viriditas. I pray you meet the Risen Christ, and that your soul will feel springtime breaking forth in all the places you had left for dead.

 

The Rev. Elizabeth+ I. Rechter