My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. Song of Solomon 2:10-13
In the late, late winter, as the snow begins to recede here in Maine, we begin to look almost desperately for signs of spring, signs of hope that the weather has turned and a new day is on the horizon. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Easter and Spring twine inextricably, the crocuses and daffodils peeking through the Earth as we await the risen Christ.
Share with us five signs of hope that you can see today or have experienced in the past.
1. Unfortunately, the early-week thaw has given way to lower temperatures and general greyness. Yesterday and today I was unpleasantly surprised at the temperature drop when walking the dog. But do you know what? I heard birds singing: lots of birds, mocking and chirping and talking to each other.
2. Most of the snow is gone from the ground right now, and,except in the early morning, the ground is mushy, soft, ready for something new to spring up.
3. I no longer feel alone in the justice work that I am doing in the congregation. Building a team is slow and hard work, and I need to be much more vulnerable than I had ever imagined. But I feel that in some ways the ground here is also ready for something new to spring up.
4. We are unfortunately in the kind of climate where crocuses end up martyred to a late frost. I have rarely seen crocuses as the true prophets of spring that they are. They proclaim from the pots in the grocery store, rather than from flower beds and lawns. But I will always remember one unusual spring, an unusually warm spring, when the crocuses came up all over the lawn surrounding the college chapel. It was a riot.
5. I heard an interview with local poet and activist Julia Dinsmore two nights ago. I heard her say "It was the Lutherans who said they want to end poverty in Minnesota." Crazy talk. Hopeful. Like crocuses in February.