Unexpectedly, on a cold, grey wet morning a host of daffodils burst into bloom in a street corner grassy patch, days ahead of others in the nearby park. The first of the season. It's rare that they do not arrive in time for St David's Day, this coming weekend. These seem to benefit from their proximity to the shelter of the wooden fence behind. Yet they can flourish in exposed hostile conditions.
In this season of Lent, nature provides us with many intimations of its resilience in the face of adversity. Spring flowers offer signs of hope, of new life following the barrenness of winter.
In the weeks leading up to Easter, and especially on Palm Sunday, graveyards in Wales will be decorated with flowers, traditionally daffodils. 'Sul y blodau' it's called in Welsh - flower Sunday.
Since the reformation there has been no popular All Souls / Day of the Dead November observance in Wales. It's not that the dead are forgotten, but the action of remembering them has been re-attached to the recollection of Christ's passion, death and resurrection.
And now, O Father, mindful of the love / That bought us, once for all, on Calvary's tree,
And having with us Him that pleads above, / We here present, we here spread forth to Thee,
That only offering perfect in Thine eyes, / The one true, pure, immortal sacrifice.
Look, Father, look on His anointed face, / And only look on us as found in Him;
Look not on our mis-usings of Thy grace / Our prayer so languid, and our faith so dim;
For lo! between our sins and their reward, / We set the Passion of Thy Son our Lord.
Qualities characteristic of the world of nature are equally a heritage of humankind. Is our confidence and hope in God's grace and mercy matched by our resilience in the face of every kind of adversity? Paul writes
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-9)
Is this true also for each one of us that thinks of themselves as believers?