by Bob Hunter
Today is Leap Day. It happens once every four years (unless it is a centennial year divisible by 400) because our calendar year is approximately 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds longer than 365 days. So once every four years in our annual calendar we add an extra day at the end of February which we call “leap day”. Since “we” do this to “our” calendar it makes leap day (leap year) a human invention.
Leap Day, being of human origin, is our attempt to remain in harmony with nature. Specifically to keep the two equinoxes and two solstices occurring at roughly the same time on our calendar year after year after year. In order to be sure that the seasons of spring, summer, fall, and winter remain in March, June, September and December. So that here in California the swallows continue to return to Mission San Juan Capistrano on or about March 19 each year. (That is, if the swallows will decide to return to their annual migration pattern. We can hope.)
Leap Day is our accommodation to our natural world because we –the human species — are from the natural world and are dependent upon it for our survival. Or, in the words from Ash Wednesday: “You are dust and to dust you will return.”
That’s why we call the earth our mother — and why engaging in a very intentional way with the climate change crisis we face is an attempt to alert all humans about life saving strategies to live in harmony with Mother Earth. And Leap Day during this Lenten season is an exceedingly appropriate time to consider our common human roots and to recognize that by learning to cooperate with other humans all over the world, maybe we can participate in saving the human race which is — in fact — our human family. Maybe. We can hope.
During the Forty Days of Lent, we will offer daily meditations from All Saints Church. Today’s is written by Bob Hunter, Part-time Congregational Development and Volunteer Ministry Coordinator.