Lent is a contemplative time for many of us, as we read and meditate on our daily readings in our Lent booklet and Daily Word. This time of reflection is always an important and vital part of life. It reflects the necessary waiting time before we can receive new life, energy, direction and ideas, which lead us forward in our development and growth.
The season of spring reflects this so well. The plants have been dormant for the winter, resting, taking their nutrients from the ground and gathering in the energy they need to burst forth with new life, which they then share with us through their beauty. For those of us who are lucky enough to go outside for walks, or can enjoy our gardens or balconies, we are witnessing the joy of spring bursting forth (just like the song goes!)
As I reflect on this with you, two aspects come to my mind.
This time of year, as a part-time gardener, I have been pruning back the shrubs, taking out the dead wood where necessary, and cutting back the long extended limbs from last year’s growth, so that the plants take their energy back into their centre and bring forth new, strong life from here.
This is something we can do for ourselves as well. We cut out, or eliminate, that which does not serve us – the old ways of responding or being, which we now intrinsically recognise do not help us. We do this kindly, compassionately, with respect for ourselves just as we respect our plants. I tell my shrubs when I am going to cut them back and thank them for their life and beauty this coming year. In the same way with us, it does not work to punish or berate ourselves when we cut out old ways of responding. It does work to say, “Thank you, but I do not need to do this anymore.” The more we release these old ways and centre inward, the more strongly new growth and energy can literally burst forth through us.
The other very important aspect is the joy that fills us as we witness new life springing forth in nature. Sometimes we need triggers to help remind us that God is here in the midst; that even though times have been challenging this past year, spring is here and God is here.
Let us take time to just stop and open our hearts to nature. Let us witness the beautiful flowers in all their glory; celebrate the catkins and green buds on the trees; smell the amazing scent of narcissus and hyacinths; hear the birds sing their glorious songs at dawn. When we open our hearts to let in and receive this spring beauty, we open to receive God’s Grace.
For all of nature is God’s love revealing itself – here blessing all of us equally and without condition.
The invitation is that we take time this month to appreciate, deeply, nature’s gift – the sharing of Divine Love and Grace – that uplifts our souls, reminds us we are connected to all of life; one with all life. Out of this natural wellspring of energy, we experience life manifesting through us as new ideas, expression and desires. As we connect and take in love and Grace, we are reminded that we, too, are love and we are truly living when we share this love with the world.
In whatever way you experience spring this year, let it open your heart. Use the gift of nature to let in Divine Love as Grace, and then let it out and share this gift, to bless you, each other and our world.
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Silent Unity and Daily Word UK
Unity in the UK