Monday, March 27, 2017

Adventures... - April 2017 from "The Quincy Quill"

In the bulb, there is a flower, in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
(Hymn of Promise, v. 1, UMH 707)

Natalie Sleeth’s “Hymn of Promise” is a beloved hymn by many with its themes of new life, hope, and resurrection.  It is often sung for memorial services and during the Easter season because of these themes of new life, hope, and resurrection.  Dr. Michael Hawn, who recently retired as professor of church music at Perkins School of Theology, writes that “Hymn of Promise”

was written at a time when the author states that she was "pondering the ideas of life, death, spring and winter, Good Friday and Easter, and the whole reawakening of the world that happens every spring." Inspired by a T.S. Eliot line, the germ of the hymn grew from the idea "in our end is our beginning," the phase that begins the third stanza of the hymn.[1]

As I write this latest installment of Adventures, the line from this hymn, “in the cold and snow of winter, there’s a spring that waits to be” has been running through my mind these last few weeks.  Until the middle of March, it seems like we have been in the midst of a long winter that did not want to let up, casting some doubt if we may see Spring.  But amidst the long winter, I keep reminding myself to be patient and that we have to wait until something is unrevealed in its proper season.  It’s just like Ecclesiastes 3, in which there is a season and time for everything.  But now, our waiting is paying off, as the daffodils are blooming and other flowers are beginning to emerge from their bulbs.  Before long, our mountain valley will be a lush, green carpet and we’ll begin seeing the trees and wildflowers blossom (although may not always be nice for the allergies). 

Spring is oftentimes a time of renewal when the earth comes alive again.  The snow on the higher peaks will soon be gone and melt into our many lakes and streams, plus those of us with fish fever will be looking forward to visiting some of those lakes soon.  At the same time, as Easter rolls around each Spring, we are also reminded of Jesus’s resurrection and the new hope and life that Easter can bring.  We use the time of Lent to prepare our hearts, bodies, and minds for Easter by dying to old ways of life, old ways that might be destructive and prevent us from becoming closer to God and living life to the fullest.  Like Bishop Karen Oliveto of the Rocky Mountain/Yellowstone conferences said one time in a sermon, “you have to go through Good Friday to get to Easter,” just as we need to get through winter in order to reach Spring. 

Easter is a season of resurrection and new life and as we have also been living our baptismal calling.  The baptisms that would occur on Easter in the early church were a symbol of new life and new birth, as each of the three times candidates were immersed was like dying to an old aspect of life before rising from the water, being anointed in oil, then dressed in white to symbolize the purity and new life.  As we prepare to enter into the Easter season and live into the resurrection, what are you doing to renew your spirits and to give you a new sense of life this Easter season? 

As we live into this coming season of resurrection and new hope, let’s keep our eyes and ears open around us to the many signs that we see, thanking and praising God for the Springtime after the cold and snow of winter, thanking and praising God for the new life around us and for the new life that we get to experience in our own lives at Easter. 

Peace & Blessings,
Pastor Andrew

[1] Ministries, Discipleship. 2017. "History Of Hymns: “In The Bulb There Is A Flower” - Umcdiscipleship.Org". Umcdiscipleship.Org. Accessed March 14 2017.

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