18 February 2019
Signs of Spring
Despite the freezing weather, the Jonquils are out by the old plum tree. Their scent drifts over the path to the church, they bend in the freezing cold winds. The deluded azalea flowers, proclaim that despite the shortest day is yet to com, and though frost crunches under foot, spring is on its way. Bare trees, a cold winter, all that lies ahead, but under the plum tree and by the north facing wall there is a defiant statement. Winter will not reign forever and spring is already at work, we can see the signs, as we clutch our coats and hurry past.
No wonder in the Northern hemisphere the Easter celebration of resurrection was celebrated in the springtime. But how much more do our winter blossoms point to new life? When the worst seems to be approaching and winter yet to be lived through, here are these signs, looking out of place, stupid even, like they taken the wrong turning. Here they are, in the winter, giving hope that it will not always be like this.
In the cold darkness of despair, when we are wondering if anything will ever come right, on the days and weeks when we mourn the losses that all of us face. When we discover we seems to be powerless as we grieve over family, friends and situations where people seem to be lost and at risk, there are signs if only we can see them. The perfume of love touches us drifting across our path, or there are shoots of new life, barely seen because we are focused on the branches not the buds swelling the bark. Birth and new life is happening around us.
Where our hearts are hurting and we have almost given up, we need to be reminded that God is at work, out of sight, in our lives. We are not left alone and there are people scattered on the way who are a sign of God's love for the world. Look around, you will find all is not what we see, there is more than we can know and God is at hand.
The apostle Paul, knew this as is written in a letter 2000 years ago to the people of Ephesus, that despite all he was undergoing having been imprisoned for his faith.
I pray therefore that you may not lose heart over my sufferings for you; they are your glory.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
Rev. Margaret Anne Low
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