Spring - in or out?
"Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land." Song of Solomon 2. 12
It hasn't reached us yet but the evidence from further south is that spring has arrived! On various occasions the Bible celebrates the bursting forth of new life at this time of year and applies it, metaphorically, to describe the new life which faith brings; none more powerfully than the Song of Solomon, or Song of Songs as it is sometimes called, which is a love poem drawing on the sensuousness of life and nature to enrich our desire for God.
The other reference in my mind, which those who know the story will appreciate is not unconnected to the Bible, is 'The Selfish Giant' by Oscar Wilde. Such is his wickedness that orbit in which the giant exists is devoid of life; he endures a perpetual winter - like Narnia under the White Witch's rule in 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' by CS Lewis. That is until his heart is melted by a little boy who appears in his garden and transforms his attitude and behaviour. Suddenly spring returns and with it the blossom, the birds, animals and - crucially - the children.
Another wisp of silver lining, which the present crisis has produced, is the numerous sightings of birds and animals in our towns and along our streets and in our waterways, which would never normally be there. In our desperation to get back to normal, how are we going to ensure dolphins can still appear in the canals of Venice, that we do not chase the birds out of our hedgerows, that air pollution does not immediately re-engulf us all?
Spring is gorgeous but fleeting and we need to make the most of it while it lasts. The year soon gallops along and, when autumn arrives, our diligence is revealed in the harvest. If we have sowed sparingly, meagre will be our reaping but an energetic planting will be rewarded by a rich harvest, which we cannot control. As Paul remarks in 1 Corinthians 3. 6: "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth."