Spring is coming.
The sun shines brightly in a blue sky.
Flowers of various hues brighten the garden. The garden is alive with avian activity and over the last few days, we have watched a robin busily ferrying nesting material into a conifer bush. Spring is coming, but has not yet sprung. Step outside, even on the sunniest day and the air has a keen edge. Several recent mornings have greeted us with a white coat. It will be some time before the winter fleece can be safely rolled way for the year. Still, with this sunny turn, the latest vaccine developments and the programme for easing restrictions, all around us we see reasons for hope – and rightly so.
A few days ago, Mary and I took a tray of tea and biscuits into the garden to enjoy under the old willow; our first such foray for many months. But of course, spring is not just about tea and biscuits under a tree; the garden needs maintenance. I have already given the lawn its first cut and Mary has been busy with the secateurs. Work and play go together, and in the right balance both bring joy and satisfaction.
What is true of our gardens at home, is true of God’s garden; the wider world in which we live. After a long and global winter, we see the signs of spring. We long to get out and take up where we left off, to enjoy a few more cups of tea under our favourite tree, or do we? Our experiences of the last year should provoke some soul-searching reflection. Like the Rectory Garden I enjoy here in Stonham, God’s world-wide garden also needs some work. We are all called to share in both the work and the joy and, as with any other garden clear-up, there are jobs, big and small, enough for all.
Spring is coming, but a morning frost reminds us to take care. Jesus once commented how easily we read the physical weather, yet how blind we are to spiritual weather (Luke 12: 54-56). As we grow through Lent, let us pray for clarity of spiritual vision in our lives; and the wisdom to see how we can both tend and enjoy his garden.
Rev Philip Payne
The Pew Sheet for 7th March can be found here in Downloads
7 March 2021 (Lent 3)