Here in this corner of the world, while the forecast last night still called for snow, the crocuses and snowdrops are pushing their way up through the soggy soil, the Lenten roses bringing their bit of color to this season, and the first few buds along the Rhododendron Walk are bursting. Even the fence woven of living dogwood, which always looks to me like a crown of thorns, is sprouting with fresh red and yellow growth.
Promise is everywhere, and the first hints of promise fulfilled.
We’re five days into Lent, and nature is reminding me that “Lent” comes from an old English word meaning “spring,” and that this season is about Love calling me to live, to grow, to flourish. Lent is about attentiveness and intention and turning my eyes and my heart back toward God and the One who came to live God’s love among us and within us.
I need the reminder. It’s so easy for me to slip back into feeling like I have to make the growth happen. Even after I wrote last week’s post, reminding myself as much as anyone else that Lent is about love, a friend had to remind me, “You can learn from that too.” Yes. Once again I had to put down the burden I was trying to pick up and receive the gift of grace.
For me, this year, coming out of a months-long flare of my physical illness and a winter-long wrestling with depression, God’s repeated invitation seems to be to rest. To enjoy. To trust that his love has done all that is needed and that what he wants of me is to come close and delight in his love—to make my home there. And to remember his promise that as I do that, His life will flourish in me.
“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.”John 15:5 The Message