by Christine Sine.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)
How and when do we prepare for new life? That is the question ringing in my mind as I begin this journey of Lent. There is much preparation that must be done, some of it already well under way.
Not surprisingly, the imagery that first appears in my mind is of a garden, planting seeds, getting ready for the new growth of spring. My first salad greens are already emerging under the grow lights and when I posted a photo a couple of weeks ago, one of my Southern hemisphere friends commented:
Spring is around the corner, as long as you take the right corner.
It is hard for people in the Southern hemisphere to think about resurrection when everything around them is dying. Yet in the garden preparation for the new life of spring has indeed begun there too.
A Time to Scatter Seeds
We tend to think of spring as the time for planting, but in nature, autumn is the real season of planting. This is the time of year when seeds are scattered, covered by the falling leaves and garden debris, preparing to being their journey towards new life.
This is also the season when deciduous trees set buds that contain next year’s leaves and flowers. They then go into dormancy over the winter, at least above ground. In some species the roots continue to grow, strengthening the tree as they search out water. Even what is above the surface is pruned and cut back in preparation for a new spurt of growth.
Spring – the Season of Surprise
Spring is not so much the season of planting, it is the season of surprise. I love to go out into the garden to see what is emerging – sometimes unexpected seeds that must be nurtured into full growth. Sometimes seeds that have been flown in and dropped by birds. I continue to prepare and enrich the soil. Growth begins in darkness, hidden but not passive. Seeds respond to the water, the nutrients, the life around them and even to the light that filters through the darkness.
The preparation of Lent seems to me to be a combination of autumn and spring preparation. The seed has been scattered, we prepare the soil, we hope for seeds to emerge and wait in anticipation for the coming of Christ’s new life.
What comes to mind as you prepare for this journey through Lent? What are the unseen things God has planted in your heart? How does your image reflect the preparation of Jesus for his death—a horrific event necessary to secure our salvation and essential for new life and resurrection?
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