In the southern states of Australia September celebrates the beginning of spring. Longer days are just around the corner with the promise of holidays in just three months, while veggie gardens are marked out and summer time tomatoes planted.
In our little valley the unmistakable scent of flowering onion grass wafts through open windows and metre high thistles seem to have sprung up overnight. Scraggy, wintery plum trees suddenly look glamorous and slashes of wattle yellow highlight the skinny eucalyptus trees. In the poetic words of the Song of Songs, ‘Winter is past. Flowers are appearing on the earth. The season of glad songs has come.’ There’s an excitement around that’s not solely to do with football grand finals.
In my ideal Church, the Church I sometimes dream about, spring is when I’d choose to celebrate the Paschal season in Australia. I would like to experience the Holy Week liturgy as more than an intellectual exercise. I want to anticipate it during the tedious days of winter and feel the new life as it touches my skin with the promise and warmth of Easter resurrection. I want the newness that follows winter to flow over into my everyday.
Spring is about openness, about the sun coaxing life from hidden seeds, so while I wait for the institutional Church to catch up with my excellent suggestion for Easter in Australia, you might like to try opening up to the spring-like newness that hides in the ordinary of life. This is what I’ve come up with:
Find a new way to drive a familiar route. You might need to do it a few times to see all it has to show you.
Cook or buy a meal that is new to you. Savor the new and maybe unexpected aromas.
Supermarket shopping, at the library, on the train, power walking– wherever you are, talk to someone you’ve never met. Scary, but it might just make your day, or theirs.
De-clutter a cupboard or even a room. You’ll feel lighter and your throwouts may be somebody else’s treasure.
Walk confidently into a clothes shop and try on a style you’ve never worn before. It may or may not suit, but now you know.
Choose a sunny day to sit awhile and focus on a flower, a bird, a view, a clump of native grass. Use all your senses.
Open your mind to a new idea. You may have to gently tip out an old one to do this.
Plant some seeds. As you do so remind yourself of Jesus’ spring parable, ‘A farmer went out to sow his seed. . .’
God is always in the process of breaking into our lives, opening windows and doors into the hidden parts of our lives. The trouble is most of those seeds never get the chance to split open and gently work their way into the light. However out of left field those God sown seeds might seem to be, or alternatively, how utterly ordinary they appear, give them a chance to grow.