My friend, Joyce Smith, has sent a Tweet about Nature’s heralding of Spring. Last Sunday was International Dawn Chorus Day (there’s always something for everyone!) and this Robin obliged by turning up in Joyce’s garden and giving a deeply spirited performance.
It got me thinking and so here’s a poem –
At the Break of Day
The Orchestra of Light tunes up; Trying out riffs and practising scales Cock clears his throat, ‘Ahem … a-doodle-doo!’ Songthrush bustles importantly into the auditorium –‘They rely on me to begin, you know.’ ‘Not so’, cuts in Robin, with Blackbird on the wing, ‘We are well-known early risers our song is eagerly awaited!’ Little Wren, never one to push, slips onto the stage, apologizing profusely for her small stature. ‘Small, but beautifully formed’ says Mr Owl on his way to bed, ‘sing me to sleep little one.’ The chiffchaff flies into the melée of slowly gathering sound as Chaffinch and Sparrow take a bow. Mr Cock raises his beak, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, shall we begin? Please open your music at the ‘Dawn Chorus’, written, I believe, by God.’
Joyce wrote about her photo reflection: This Egret also sees ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ !
Spring is a time of new life; new hope after the darkness of Winter. This is no coincidence. This is God’s plan in creation, even when we don’t feel it. We have to learn to read the signs, of which the Egret is one.
There are all sorts of times in our lives when what we might call coincidences happen. Ways ahead become clear, solutions happen, and there is light at the end of tunnels. Maybe sometimes, when our faith is hard and brittle, something beautiful happens to raise our spirits or we find in a quiet moment that God is there, near us, after all.
My problem with all these ‘coincidences’ is that I don’t believe in coincidences. Everything has a plan and a purpose. When we are ‘surprised’ by something that happens which speaks to our souls then we are having what I call a God Moment. This is the time when God acts in our lives in a surprising or special way.
It’s vitally important to believe in God Moments because it reminds us that we are in God’s hands and whatever we are going through, good or bad, is watched over by God. In Isaiah Chapter 43 v1 we hear God tells His people, I have called you by name, you are mine. It is because of this that there will always by God Moments in our lives – times when something happens which God has planned to happen because we are His. Sometimes, sadly, we don’t believe this to be true. So it’s worthwhile praying the words in Joyce’s reflection from the first letter of John.
God is Light. In him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5b)
This is his Passion. Darkness wraps around his very being, not a warming cloak but a shroud. Silence, punctured by friends snoring off the wellbeing of food, minds sloshed with wine. Alone with the shivers of the night, everything in him protests.
Sometimes, when we know our destiny, our minds close. Not this! No! Never! But our hearts are our undoing: our resolve begins; ends there.
So he battles with his need to say ‘Yes’, for himself, for others, for us. How else can the world know what it is to be loved?
Kneeling on the damp ground, tense, numb, scared, uncertain, he waits.
And the Father waits too as demons and angels whirl, stirring up the black air, a vortex of cosmic battle. Below them, sweat drops as blood.
And still the Father waits, listening expectantly, daring to hope…
God wrestling desperately with God with everything – just everything – at stake. This really is the Passion.
He sighs, deeply, calm descends.“Yes, let it be.” The Father wraps his love around him – and so too around us.
This little robin sees signs of new life in the buds on the tree and looks forward to renewed joy. You just have to wait and trust. The Future is here! Don’t keep running around and chasing what is already in front of you. You may well know this little ditty by Elizabeth Cheney
Said the robin to the sparrow, ‘I should really like to know, Why these anxious human beings Rush about and worry so.’ Said the sparrow to the robin, ‘Friend I think that it must be, That they have no Heavenly Father, Such as cares for you and me.
Of course the Sparrow is only half right. Our Heavenly Father certainly cares about the birds of the air but he does care for us too and he provides for all we need, even if that isn’t always quite what we want! Why not read and pray over Matthew 6:25-34 (NRSV or in your favourite version if you prefer
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
Spring officially begins on March 21st but Nature doesn’t always check the Calendar . Which is fine because the sooner Spring begins the better. We could wait a while longer but why don’t we take to heart what Pope John Paul II said in the picture quotation above. Let the Future begin today.
And don’t spoil it with anxiety and worry. There are two words which are underpinning this time in our lives and in our world. Kindness and Trust. Let God be kind to you and in return Trust Him. That’s what Jesus teaches. Do not worry.! Easy to say; harder to do I know. But The Robin has arrived and the other birds are singing. Those vulnerable creatures trust God and rejoice. Why can’t we?