My friend Joyce has sent me this lovely picture tweet. She writes,
This sleepy wood pigeon is enjoying the warmth of the sun and the beauty of the blossom before it is blown away. With my love and prayers. God bless, Joyce
There is a call to stillness as nature and the natural world bring forth the joy of creation. The blossom heralds Spring and, though fleeting, it is a sign of hope.
We all know that there is so much darkness and despair right now. Ukraine weighs heavily on our hearts and other places are unsettled. The girls denied an education this week in Afghanistan are only part of the problem there, as children and families suffer increasingly from malnutrition.
We need to remain aware, too, that there are many in Russia who oppose the war at their peril and yet are brave enough to speak out. They too need our prayerful support.
So whilst all around us there is destruction and fragility, it is good to be reminded that the earth still blossoms with beauty and the promise of new life.
Two years ago we went into the first Lockdown against Covid. That virus in differing forms is still with us. I myself am battling it at the moment, as are about a million others in the UK alone. Maybe we didn’t really learn the lessons. Maybe we should have taken up the opportunities of a new way of living and so developed new values by which to be truly human and truly at one with each other and creation.
At the time of the first lockdown, the artist, David Hockney, painted a series of paintings. Alongside them he said, Do remember, they can’t cancel the Spring! Maybe, in the midst of all that is besetting and destroying humanity in a maelstrom of the demonic, we need to pray and work for that truth.
Spring is God’s time of renewal and re-birth. To give us that gift, however, he had to take on the demonic of evil by dying on the Cross. It was the triumph of love and light against evil and darkness and, in the words of the poet T.S.Eliot, it cost God not less than everything. For Ukraine and other places of suffering, that is a personal reality for many right now, not least their inspirational and dedicated President, Volodymyr Zelensky. It is costing the Ukrainian Nation not less than everything.
Many of us are deeply humbled by the people of Ukraine and by the multitude of people who are receiving the victims of the war by opening their countries, their hearts and their homes with a generosity, compassion and love which is rapidly enfolding those for whom life has changed so deeply.
In such hospitality the demonic is being confronted and in many ways defeated by love.
God is enthusing and empowering that love.
Our little wood pigeon surrounded by blue sky and gorgeous blossom is, in its own way, a reminder that not only has spring not been cancelled but also, neither has love. It may be very fragile but it cannot be broken.