It’s breakfast time. Our day is just beginning and already the garden is a hive of activity. For several weeks we watched as nest-building material was airlifted into the depths of various shrubs. Now it’s clearly food that is being delivered to the same addresses. The robin, in particular, has a well flown track. Try as we might, we have not found the nest, but clearly there has been progress. The age-old cycle continues: new birth, new life, new hope. It’s not just the birds. Only yesterday I saw the nose of a vole poking carefully and curiously out from under a flowerpot. Insects, too, are becoming more adventurous. Everywhere we look, spring is encouraging movement.
We, too, are encouraged to move. Slowly but surely, step by step, the constraints on our freedoms are being lifted. Once again schoolchildren pass daily back and forth along the street; church buildings open for worship and businesses are dusting off their counters and opening their doors.
‘Stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high’ (Lk 24:49). When Jesus died, his disciples hid. Some slipped quietly out of Jerusalem and headed home to nearby villages. Others, perhaps because they had further to go, waited. This was the lowest point in their lives, they were afraid. Afraid of the authorities, afraid perhaps also, to go home and admit failure. It was here, at their lowest point, that the risen Jesus re-entered their lives; made himself known. Soon they would be sent out, but not yet. For 6 weeks the disciples went quietly about their daily business; keeping themselves to themselves waiting for the moment. Then, with the coming of the Holy Spirit, their lives would change for ever.
The sun shines, the days lengthen, constraints are being lifted. After months of being told to ‘stay put’ we are now being told to move, a little. We are encouraged to get out, but one step at a time. As we look nervously out into a busier world once more, let us tread carefully – but let us also tread confidently. In the world you will have trouble. Be of good courage, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33). Get up, get out, get moving. Just don’t go too far – not yet.
Rev Philip Payne
The Pew Sheet for 18 April 2021 can be found here