Freeze and thaw, freeze and thaw— The heartbeat of a forest floor longing for spring. God, I long for it too and feel it drawing near, But I know the inevitability of more and more snow. The thought of the wintery wind that will soon blow our way Reminds me that this time of waiting is not over. But, oh how it stirs up an even greater longing Not just for light, fresh, greener springtime days, but for the chance to once again know your spirit of renewal.
A Prayer for the Beginning of Spring Creative, Creating God, Who gave us a glorious garden in which to dwell, Awaken our senses to the beauty around us As we enter into this season of spring. Creative, Creating God, Who gave us a glorious garden in which to dwell, Help us to see the gifts of your creation, So we may learn to cherish them anew. Creative, Creating God, Who gave us a glorious garden in which to dwell, Guide us as we tend all that’s green and growing among us. And accept this work as a way of worshiping you. Creative, Creating God, Who gave us a glorious garden in which to dwell, To you we offer thanks and praise For the long-awaited arrival of spring. Amen.
Creator Divine, I know you cultivate hope Even in the bleakest times. I know you sow love in unlikely places. I know your light touches all. I know the roots of peace first form beneath the surface. I know that lilies don’t just spring up from nowhere. I know you awaken new life. Even when spring hides beneath winter’s veil, I know you awaken new life. God, these things I think I know. Forgive me when I forget.
I saw winter pass away, and I caught a glimpse of Spring, did you?
Did you see the daytime light linger into evening?
Did you experience weightless delight
upon seeing the buds of new life?
Were you struck with a moment of wonder when
you realized the grass returned from soggy,
tattered tan to brilliant shades of green?
Did you drink the warmer air,
inhale the floral scent of Spring,
and let the springtime sunlight dance upon your skin?
Did you catch a glimpse of Spring?
I caught a glimpse of Spring, now hidden beneath snow.
A season chilled and challenged to
save its treasures, persevere, and offer hope again.
The cold air scared the springtime breeze,
The frost and snow covered brilliant greens,
And now beneath this wintery blanket
plant life trembles, shivers, and shrinks.
But the texts of seasons passed do say it will be so
That winter’s snowy tomb will indeed roll away, and
The passing of winter will reveal Spring’s gifts of life and light.
I caught a glimpse of new life, did you?
Winter trees have shed their leaves
Their stark and brittle branches hold fast
These skeletal remains see shorter days
By night an eerie shadow they cast
Gone is summer’s sun-kissed splendor
Gone the multicolored cloak of fall
Spring’s bright hope too far in the future
Does winter bring new life at all?
The austere ground bears a frosty coat
The environment’s hardly conducive for growth
But held within the life that lingers
Lies the yearned for gift of hope
Held within the life that lingers
In nature’s vault and human souls
Life-giving gifts take root and flourish
Nature’s blessings become soulfully whole
Even with winter’s woeful wind
And the dreary darkness that descends at night
Light shines forth from the hands outstretched
That offer life-giving gifts so bright.
In many places winter conditions do not support natural life and growth. Frost kills plants, animals seek shelter from the cold, and snow can be a hazard. Yet, year after year, the ground warms with the coming of spring, trees bud, flowers sprout, and all those signs of life that were hidden all winter appear once again. Where were those signs of life during the winter months? They were internal—in the seeds taking root in the ground, inside shelters, and inside plants, animals, and people.
There are parallels between the seasons of winter and spring to the season of Lent and Easter. The signs of life that shine forth in Easter, are obscured or hidden during the solemn preparatory period of Lent. During Lent we turn to the internal (some do this in prayer and fasting, making an intentional reading choice, or engaging in a certain ministry or service), and tend to God’s interaction with us. That relationship is the life among the winter conditions of business, stress, trials, pain, etc. In turning to the internal and tending to our spiritual lives, we foster life-giving gifts—gifts to offer others.
The house is quiet. The gentle drone of the humidifier fan and the steady pulsing of the clock create the background music or accompaniment for a different sort of song–one without words and without a melody. This song has a flexible tempo marked solely with audible inhalations and exhalations. The song is strophic, which means each verse has the same music, or in this case, the same flow of yoga positions: sun salutations.
On the first day of spring, I watched a video of two yoga enthusiasts performing 108 sun salutations to celebrate the spring equinox. I wasn’t familiar with the tradition, but I later learned that 108 is a significant number in Hinduism and certain schools of yoga. I found the practice intriguing. However, since 108 holds little significance to me, I decided to try 40 repetitions—one for each day of Jesus’ time in the wilderness. (Mark 1:12-13)
Although at first I thought that the sun salutation experience might stimulate deep, meaningful thoughts; I realized I mustn’t try to attach meaning to the exercise. I mustn’t try to create some sort of benefit that didn’t exist at the time. The practice itself was sufficient. The movement became a simple, outwardly expressed song for God. I repeatedly raised my hands heavenward. I listened to my own breathing, and grew increasingly grateful for my body and breath. The experience aligned with the spiritual disciplines that members of my church and I have been exploring this Lenten season.
*Silence *Solitude *Meditation *Simplicity *Prayer *Worship