Springing to Life
Tom Rout is vicar of the Ipswich Waterfront Churches (St Helen’s, Holy Trinity and St Luke’s) and Anglican Chaplain to the University of Suffolk and Suffolk New College. He is married to Nicola and father of 3 young children.
It’s that time of year again. Everything is waking up. After more snow than we’ve had in several years, spring is finally here.
No one can fail to notice that there’s more light. Our clocks have gone forward in recognition of the fact, allowing us to make the most of the sunshine.
Perhaps there’s more energy too. Many of us will feel that with the longer light hours, and the gradual rise in temperatures, we’ve come back to life! Finally we’re ready to tackle all those jobs we’ve been putting off in home and garden...
The garden in particular is bursting into life. Too much life, some of us will say! Hedges need cutting, bushes pruned, lawns mowed. After their long wintry sleep, our gardens are back with a bang.
Is there a connection between the reawakening of nature that takes place each year, and the Easter season?
The Bible certainly makes a link between the workings of nature, and the great story of God. Nature is like a public screening, a premiere, proud to present the story of God in vivid technicolour, complete with sounds and smells for the full 4D experience. What’s the story? “Out of death - new life!”
Jesus directly linked the events of Easter to what we see in nature. He said, ‘Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies it produces many seeds.’ He thought of himself as the single ‘seed’ who died on a cross and was placed in the ground. But he knew that just as winter always gives way to spring, neither would he be confined forever in the grave. He sprang to life again, just as a single seed planted in the ground comes back to life in springtime. And as a single grain of wheat sprouts up as a stalk bearing a whole head of wheat, so Jesus’ new life became the stem on which many others find their life.
So it’s no coincidence that nature dies in winter and then wakes up again in spring. It’s a multi-sensory ‘in your face’ retelling of the ultimate new life story.
As we walk around our gardens and parks, enjoying the new life that spring brings, maybe we can reflect on the reason for the season.