This Sunday many Christians will celebrate Easter, a special time of grieving Jesus’ death and celebrating new life in his resurrection. Our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate the Passover, a time to celebrate the liberation from slavery in Egypt. And for all of us, the earth in springtime pulses with the promise of new life, resurrection of growth from the cold of winter. We celebrate a season of new life: new life in Christ, new life of freedom, and new life of growth.
The process of creating new life is never easy. After years of preaching to crowds and rejection from his own people, Jesus was arrested, beaten, judged and put to death on a cross. After generations of suffering under the Egyptians and pleading with God for relief, the Jewish people spent forty years in the dessert before coming to new life in Israel. After tilling the soil in the fall and adding manure to improve the soil, a gardener mulches the beds to protect them from the killing frosts of the early spring, waiting for new life to emerge. Adoption is a unique and beautiful way to welcome new life into our families. Just as Easter, the Passover, and spring lilies reflect periods of work and waiting, many families undergo stress and work prior to bringing new children into their forever home.
Speaking as a Catholic
Christian, I feel the period of Lent, which reaches its climax this weekend, is an excellent parallel to the adoption process. During Lent, we are called to pray, to fast and to give alms. Lenten prayer gives us time to reflect on our new life in Christ. A family preparing for adoption spends time reflecting on the changes this new life will make in their family. Lenten fasts give us the opportunity to recognize what is truly significant in our lives and explore making changes to more closely walk with Jesus. A prospective adopting parent begins to consider what they may need to fast from in order to provide room for the new life about to arrive. Lenten alms-giving reminds us of our material priorities and an opportunity to make an offering to God. An adoption family offers “alms” to the adoption process, a gift of their time and material wealth to add a new member to their family.
On Easter Sunday, the three Lenten disciplines – prayer, fast and alms-giving – create the opportunity for new life in Christ. Our commitments to change are strengthened and uplifted by the hope and majesty of Easter morning and the resurrection. Jesus’ tomb -our tomb- is found empty. After Easter, we return to regular life, stronger and prepared to live our lives in Christ anew. Just as when the adopting family brings their child home and the new life as a family begins. My prayers are with all our waiting
families as their season of Lent draws to a close, that it will bring them the strength and readiness required for new life entering the world – the adopted child
that you will love and call your own.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16