Sunday, 27 March 2011
Season of Inspiration and Blossom.
"For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land. The fig tree ripeneth her green figs, and the vines are in blossom, they give forth their fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away...Let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice".
The Song of Songs 2:11-14
Everywhere one looks, especially here in the south, one sees and feels the beauty of spring as the strengthening sun streams over the landscape and in through countless windows. Trees becoming heavy with blossom, fragrant flowers appearing as if overnight in gardens and parks and the bleating of lambs and birdsong drifting over fields fill our hearts with happiness. The world is being reborn after it's winters rest. And likewise we are speedily heading towards Easter and its celebration of the resurrection, however it is understood. Now is a perfect time to rededicate ourselves to our Father in heaven, to crucify our own base, negative and selfish desires and in their place embrace, to the best of our ability, the Divine Will. It is a time to refocus our attention on those around us and make our religious life, in the words of the minister of Cross Street Unitarian Chapel, William Gaskell 1805-1884:
"Not something to cover the earth with a cloud but (instead) the light of life touching it with hues of beauty and sending gleams of sunshine into the depths of its darkest shadows".
This exiting time of year is designed to infuse us with the potential for rapid and strong growth and as with the Children of Israel all those years ago, it can suffuse us with the power to break free of the shackles with which we are imprisoned, and with which we often imprison ourselves, and to embrace the eternality of a life lived connected to the love and majesty of the Infinite One.
The challenges are huge as unfortunately our world is still mired in hatred, greed and conflict, but with God's help we can play our part, however small, to make this world a place befitting of the Divine presence. In the moving words of a hymn by William Gaskell:
"O God! The darkness roll away
Which clouds the human soul
And let Thy bright and holy day
Speed onward to its goal.
Let every hateful passion die
Which makes of brethren foes,
And war no longer raise its cry
To mar the world's repose.
How long shall glory still be found
In scenes of cruel strife,
Where misery walks, a giant crowned,
Crushing the flowers of life?
O hush, great God, the sounds of war,
And make Thy children feel
That he, with Thee, is nobler far
Who toils for human weal.
Let faith, and hope, and charity
Go forth through all the earth,
And man in holy friendship be
True to his heavenly birth.
As a new week begins I hope to keep in my mind the potential of this season and the words of my teacher Jesus:
"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God".