As the snow covered our lawn and driveway this past Friday, my mind was on Opening Day for the Detroit Tigers – which happens to be today in Chicago.  Fortunately we have another week for the landscape to warm-up before the Home Opener on April 5.  And, at least at this point, the forecasts look good for both the first weekend of the season in Chicago and the second here in Detroit … with temperatures in the low 50’s all the way around.
Perhaps the lion forgot how long the month of March is!  Snowstorms on March 22 … thunderstorms (supposedly) on March 26 and then decent weather predicted as the month finally “goes out.” I will take this – along with Easter’s prediction – each and any year.  Or is this a year where March comes in … and goes out … like a lamb?
Then again, the paragraph above doesn’t actually address the true “lions” that are out there (and, no, I am not talking about those garbed in Honolulu Blue and Silver, either).  I suspect you may be aware of the warning we receive through the pen of the Apostle named Peter:  Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world.” (1 Peter 5.8-9)  This lion marches around the earth like General Shermon … though many times garbed in sheep’s clothing.
Thus the warning for us not to be surprised by suffering or challenges … even martyrdom … coming into our lives and the lives of other believers.  We walk in the wilderness even as Jesus did at the beginning of his incarnational ministry.  “Wild animals” (Mark 1.12) of multiple varieties … or “lions” in many shapes and sizes … are on the march around us every month.
However we are able to “resist him, firm in our faith” because of the True Lion of March, as one of the elders around the throne encourages us: Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5.5)  Or, put more simply, today, and all of the tomorrows that follow (through eternity), are held in the gracious palms (or is that paws?) of the Lion of Judah (Jesus, just in case you missed it) who has conquered all of our foes and freely shares with us his victory.
That’s really what this week is all about … remembering the events that led to the opening of heaven to all believers of all time.  Easter is the Opening Day of opening days … and it continually shines with pure, glorious SUNshine, no matter what the weather is outside (or inside, for that matter).  And, while our Tigers are sure to lose many times over, our Lion of Judah assures us that the outcome on his Opening Day is pure and complete victory.
You know the story … and the importance of sharing it over and over again … Jesus rides into Jerusalem amidst the joyful cries of “Hosannah” … teaches all week in the temple courts … says “do this in remembrance of me” as he institutes Holy Communion … is betrayed, arrested, denied, tried, beaten, mocked, and crucified … His lifeless body is placed in the tomb behind a huge rock … on the third day he is raised back to life … and the stone is rolled away for all to see the truth:  CHRIST IS RISEN.
Thus on Sunday we will sing, “He lives to silence all my fears; He lives to wipe away my tears; He lives to calm my troubled heart; He lives all blessings to impart.” (LSB 461, v.5)  And we will go out of March marching with the triumphant Lion of Judah.  And the Lion … this Lion … will keep us safe as his lambs forever.

I look forward to seeing you again soon … on the other side of the resurrection celebration.

And the Lion!