It is almost the middle of March as I write and it is cold! Not to be outdone by the magnolia, the willow is determinedly enlarging its buds day by day. Its roots are firmly embedded in the stream and the water temperature must be sufficiently high to encourage growth. It is always the first to put on its Spring clothes and the last to put them off in the Autumn. We are so fortunate here to see this happening in front of our eyes and visible from all our windows. This is all going to change of course in six weeks time when we leave this heavenly place.
But we are all engaged in growth! Whether we are still young or putting on white hairs, the spirit is the place where growth is consistent - at least if we do not inhibit this natural process by turning away from creative thought and actions. That is easier said than done of course and much depends upon friends and family and much else in this complex world of relations.
We need encouragement and stimulation, rather like the warmth that starts the willow to sprout once more. Jesus was so obviously aware of this in people. His stories were often about growing things and his friends were often those who needed just the support that he could give. But he never claimed people for himself. His aim was to let himself be used to allow a truly wholesale renewal to take place in the spirits and hearts of people. From his life,and his willing sacrifice of that life, has sprung the astonishing harvest of people who have called themselves Christians since his vindication by the Father. It is his Lordship, as the risen Lord, which gives life and light and confidence to millions of people who may or may not be part of the traditional Christian churches.
Alleluia for this continual Spring bringing new life to all who will receive him!!!