Spring!

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I have made it clear, I think, that I am not a big fan of the winter. If I had my way, it would last until about Jan. 7th and then we would head right into Spring.

Clearly that’s not what happens in the part of the world where I live. And since I am not all that interested in moving elsewhere, I will probably always find myself a little grumpy in February, March and April.

But right now I am so very pleased. The past two days have seemed to skip past Spring and head right on into summer. The skies have been blue, the birds have been singing, the breezes have been warm. And it does my heart so much good. My spirits lift and I am reminded that God is here. In every new flower, every bursting bud, every bright birdsong, I see the fingerprints of joy creator and I am thankful for new life.

I hope that you have been able to get outside in the last couple of day – to go for a walk or simply sit in the sunshine.

I hope, no matter what life is throwing at you, that your spirits are lifted by the natural beauty that surrounds us. I hope you are at to accept the gift God is giving us.

O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures.
Psalms 104:24 NLT

Autumn and inconsistent…

I often think of Fall as my favorite season. Unless you count Christmas, which I totally do – but that is my favorite because of twinkling lights and sparkly bows and beautiful carols and the birth of the Savior…not because of weather and what is happening out in the natural world.

Today I was running an errand and I saw the first kiss of fall color in a stand of trees. It just made me grin. I do love fall, but I think what I love even more than fall itself is the change of seasons. That shift as Summer morphs into Fall or Winter melts into Spring. That in-between-time when the previous season still makes an occasional appearance even as we are surrounded by signs of the new season.

It’s strange, because often I have such trouble with change. But when it comes to the seasons there seems to be such possibility and mystery in the changes. Sure, sometimes at this time of year you find yourself caught without a jacket on a day when it turns out that you really need one, or wearing too many layers on a day that Summer decided to pop back up. Sometimes the change surprises you. But there is beauty in the unexpected.
And in the midst of a change of season I find myself delighted by the unforeseen changes in the weather.

Now, if only I could translate that attitude to the unexpected things that happen in all avenues of life. Unfortunately, I am more annoyed than overjoyed when life throws me a curve ball. I find in-between-times full of frustration rather than expectation and mystery. I think – and this will come to no surprise to those of you who know me well – I want to be in control when it comes to change in the broad strokes of life.

When it comes to the weather, to the change of seasons, I’m well aware that I have no say in what will happen, so I don’t worry too much about it.

It’s a healthier attitude, especially for a Christian. I know that God is at work in this world. I know that He has a plan and I believe that His plan is for the good of us all. I believe His plan has to do with redemption and deliverance and new life. I can say all of that with confidence and with a still small voice in the center of my being whispering “it’s true, it’s true, it’s true…” So why can’t I have the attitude towards the changes in life that I have towards the change of season?

The answer is quite simple. I’m human. I’m fallen. I’m inconsistent. I’m in need of a savior. Thank God I have one.

From humble beginnings…

I have been thinking about Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed recently. Here’s what Jesus said:

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field.
It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants;
it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”
Matthew 13:31-32 NLT

The Kingdom of Heaven – the place where Jesus reigns, the place where we find ourselves in relationship with him – starts small. It starts humble. The smallest of all seeds. But it grows. It grows into great things which have an impact on the world around them. The tree big enough for birds to find shelter in its branches.

I walk every day along a path with some of the greatest trees. They are huge. And as I was walking the other day I was stopped dead in my tracks by the thought that there was a time that these trees were nothing more than a tiny seed falling into good soil.

This tree, in particular, is right at the beginning of my walking route. It is a beautiful tree, and there is no arguing that it is a majestic specimen. But even this was once only a tiny seed. It took good conditions, and a whole lot of time. And now the birds can find shelter in its branches.

I think we sometimes find ourselves frustrated with time it takes for the growth to happen. I think sometimes we miss the mustard seed all together – not noticing that it has been planted, not sensing the growth process as it begins beneath the surface.

I think I have been in that kind of season recently. But tonight I have hope. Tonight, I think I have begun to glimpse the first hints of green shoots poking through the dark soil.

If you could spare a prayer for me, for the community of faith where I serve as Associate Minister, for the future of the Kingdom and for humble beginnings that grow into great trees, I would appreciate it.