DAWNINGS: ’Springtime of the Soul’

By Rev. Dr. Dawn Darwin Weaks

Pastor, Connection Christian Church

“People never change.” “Once people show you who they are, believe them.” “A leopard never changes his spots.” These sayings may indeed be true much of the time. But in the springtime of the soul we call the season of Lent, we might consider other possibilities.

Take the story of Nicodemus, for example. Nicodemus shows up three times in the gospel of John, though not at all in the other gospels. Once in chapter three, he comes to Jesus at night to question what Jesus is teaching; once in chapter seven, he cautiously defends Jesus with the other religious leaders; and at the end of the gospel, he boldly retrieves Jesus’ lifeless body from the cross to assist Joseph of Arimathea with the burial. John’s gospel seems to tell Jesus’ story so that it is also the story of Nicodemus’ slow but sure conversion to Christ.

Three years ago, our family had the incredible fortune of being in the Italian gallery where Michelangelo’s sculpture depicting Nicodemus cradling Jesus’ dead body resides.

Scholars think the Nicodemus figure was a self-portrait of the artist. The great master worked on the sculpture for eight years, ultimately abandoning it, unfinished, and giving it to a servant. Not only did we get to see the magnificent sculpture, but when we were there, for the first time in 470 years, the sculpture was being cleaned. Trained art historians were painstakingly using Q-Tips to touch one cubic millimeter of the massive stone at a time, restoring the marble’s original luster, a process that took untold hours. But you could already see the difference.

As we continue in the season of Lent, soon we will remember the passion of Jesus as he goes to the cross, lies in the tomb, and is raised up out of the grave. Let us continue our journey with the assurance that no person, no situation, no stone, is too immutable to be moved and restored by the One who gave his life for us. Not even you or me. Thanks be to God!

Worship with us in-person Sundays at 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. at 4241 Tanglewood or on Facebook @odessaconnect