I have begun my spring ritual of walking in my back yard and poking around with my fingers to find green leaves emerging below the mulch. The re-emergence of plants and flowers and the heightened activity of insects and birds. It happens slowly. First leaves and shoots, then the colors of flowers budding. I like to watch it happening day by day. I do often wish it would happen quicker though. Spring can be long, especially here in Colorado where we have frosts still well into May, and the periodic hail storm to test the resilience of early vegetation.
After many months of gray, brown grass, no flowers, and frozen nights, I find myself longing for the fruit of spring. I look forward to picking lettuce from the garden, cutting the grass, enjoying the spring blossoms on our crab-apple tree, and to having David Cooper bring fresh sprigs of lilac to adorn the altar. Long stretches without such fruits of the earth start to wear on us.
Similarly, the fruits of God's Spirit working in us sometimes seem dormant, as in a long winter. And it comes time for a spring-like reemergence of these things. We start to long for their refreshing return. We begin to watch, start to amend the soil, to do what we can to foster their comeback, and hope that this fruit resurges stronger than before.
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5: 22-23)
I have given myself a break from much of the news during Lent. It is a barren landscape of cold-heartedness, of discord, and hate, and violence, and dysfunction, and the gossip and hysteria of a misdirected media. I have noticed in lent that the soil of my heart, the tone of my spirit, these have taken on too much of the gray flowerless tones of winter. I desire the shoots of love and peace and kindness and joy to emerge relentlessly from the soil. I crave generosity and gentleness to issue forth their fragrance in my spirit once more. I want to be revived by the fruit that comes not just from time, and seasonal movement, but from the Spirit at work in my being.
I want to walk in the assurance of spring, that the dormant fruit of the Spirit can reemerge even stronger, and fuller, and can even reseed itself. I want to poke my fingers in the soil, confident it will come. I want to see life emerge day by day and know that the Spirit is indeed at work in the world, and in me, and that life will re-emerge, and that what was dead will be alive again.