Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
Lent this year has been a time of darkness and sadness. Just before Easter we learned of the passing of an old friend whilst the weather throughout Lent has been quite unseasonal so that the plants in the garden did not quite know what to do. They started to throw new shoots, to begin to bloom and then it snowed! That cleared up and we saw Mother Blackbird investigating the hedge hoping to find a place to build her nest. But before she could do so, it snowed again! Would it ever end? Were we to write off spring this year and move straight to winter again? Had the hope of Lent, the hope for the future died? The disciples must have thought so on Easter Saturday. They had believed that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Messiah whom God had promised to send to redeem Israel. But since he had been crucified like a common criminal, and that could not under any circumstances happen to God’s Messiah, what were they to make of it all? Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Day and His subsequent appearances to his disciples convinced them of His true nature. Even today there always seem to be so many problems besetting us that it is so easy to lose hope. Yet the words of the late Dr Martin Luther King Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that are a reminder that hope never dies.
I lit a candle for our friend, as I had done a few days earlier for Mary whose secondary cancer finally got the better of her. And in the garden this morning I can see the pieris showing his bright red bracts with, at his feet, a sea of blue aubrietia whilst the forsythia is putting on a magnificent show of golden yellow blooms.
So even on the darkest night, or when spring seems so far off, hope is still there; a hope of resurrection. But as the plants in the garden illustrate resurrection is not simply a promise of something better in a future life. Resurrection is here and now, a new life on this earth, if only we commit ourselves to following Jesus’ example; to Love God and to Love thy Neighbour.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years