Saturday, 21 March 2015

Lent day 28

Today is the day of the Spring equinox, the first of the two occasions in the year when day and night are of approximately equal length. The sun is at its zenith, exactly overhead, on the Equator.
The orderly passage of time, with all its in-built variations due to the irregularities of heavenly bodies and their orbits, has a constancy and consistency in which human beings find security an refuge in the vast cosmos of which earth is but a tiny part. Space, time, matter and energy are all God's essential gifts in creation.

"Yours is the day, Yours also is the night; You have prepared the light and the sun. You have established all the boundaries of the earth; You have made summer and winter." (Psalm 74:16)

Nothing about the created order is without meaning and purpose, even if it's sometimes difficult to understand what it is. All time and all eternity belong to God.

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing ... " (Eccl 3:1-8)

Signs of Spring growth are evident all around us. It is indeed a favourable time for sowing seeds or planting. In the Promised Land it's time to pray for the blessing of fertility that comes with the rain

"Ask rain from the Lord in the season of the spring rain, from the Lord who makes the storm clouds, and he will give them showers of rain, to everyone the vegetation in the field." (Zech 10:1)

It's a time to celebrate the power of the Creator's action that restores beauty to the landscape and songs of joy to the hearts of his children, whose lives are also being renewed.

"The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God." (Is 35:1-3)

It's a time when love and desire are re-awakened in many creatures, but above all for humankind.

"For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land." (Song of Songs 2:11-12)

It is a time to renew one's courage and confidence in God to face up to endeavours or challenges that have ended in failure or which remain uncompleted

"Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped ... " (Is 35:4-6)

Because it's the season so strongly associated with renewal, it's is when the story of the Exodus from Egypt is set, and when the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus takes place. When Jesus is seen transfigured by Peter James and John, it's just before he sets off for the last time to go to Jerusalem.

"And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure (Greek = Exodus) which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem." (Luke 9:30-1)

The coming of Spring can lead to pain as well as to joy. But, as Job responded to his wife when she criticised him for not complaining about his misfortunes. 

"Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?(Job 2:10)

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