Lined with light the twigs are stubby arrows. A gilded trunk writhes Upward from the roots, from the pit of the black tentacles.
In the book of spring a bare-limbed torso is the first illustration.
Light teaches the tree to beget leaves, to embroider itself all over with green reality, until summer becomes its steady portrait and birds bring their lifetime to the boughs.
Then even the corpse light copies from below may shimmer, dreaming it feels the cheeks of blossom. ~May Swenson “April Light”
In April we wait for the corpse light~ a mysterious illumination which comes alive on a bright Sabbath Easter morning, taking bare stubs of people, hardly alive, begetting them green, bursting them into blossom, their cheeks pink with life, in promise of faithful fruitfulness.
We live in an imperfect world, with imperfect characters to match. Our imperfections should not keep us from dreaming of better things, or even from trying, within our limits, to be better stewards of the soil, and more ardent strivers after beauty and a responsible serenity. ~Jane Kenyon from “In the Garden of My Dreams”
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1: 9-11
O Holy Father, I will be a child of peace and purity For well I know Thy Hand will bless the seeker after righteousness ~Shaker Hymn
The beauty of peace and purity is right outside my back door, in a misty dawn moment of drizzle-sprinkled flowers. They heal me after an imperfect yesterday and an imperfect night’s sleep and prepare me for another imperfect day today.
Today I will strive to be a steward for a garden of righteousness and serenity, aiding their growth and helping them flourish despite my flaws and failings.
I can never do it perfectly but am not giving up, as His hand blesses my seeking and my efforts.
Divinity is not playful. The universe was not made in jest but in solemn incomprehensible earnest. By a power that is unfathomably secret, and holy, and fleet. There is nothing to be done about it, but ignore it, or see. ~Annie Dillard from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities— his eternal power and divine nature— have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20
We weren’t conceived by random happenstance, including so many millions not welcomed but wished or washed away before taking a breath.
We are here because we were earnestly needed and wanted, by a power and divinity beyond comprehension with a capacity for love and compassion beyond anything in our earthly experience.
We aren’t a cosmic joke, or random couplings of DNA. We aren’t pawns in the universe’s chess game.
We may look silly as we intentionally loll about in the smelly stuff of life, or we may think what we say or do doesn’t matter a hill of beans, but we are created to clearly see God for who He is, and in whose image He made us.
He won’t be ignored; we have no more excuses. It is time to open our eyes, to come and see.
The air was soft, the ground still cold. In the dull pasture where I strolled Was something I could not believe. Dead grass appeared to slide and heave, Though still too frozen-flat to stir, And rocks to twitch and all to blur. What was this rippling of the land? Was matter getting out of hand And making free with natural law, I stopped and blinked, and then I saw A fact as eerie as a dream. There was a subtle flood of steam Moving upon the face of things. It came from standing pools and springs And what of snow was still around; It came of winter’s giving ground So that the freeze was coming out, As when a set mind, blessed by doubt, Relaxes into mother-wit. Flowers, I said, will come of it. ~Richard Wilbur “April 5, 1974”
As the ground softens with spring, so do I. Somehow the solid winter freeze was comforting as nothing appeared to change and stayed static, so did I, remaining stolid and fixed, resisting doubt and uncertainty.
But now, with light and warmth, the fixed is flexing, steaming in its labor, and so must I find blessing in giving ground and giving birth to what will follow. Flowers will come of it.
“Let Him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east.” ~Gerard Manley Hopkins from “The Wreck of the Deutschland“
On this Sabbath, we anticipate the bright light of Easter morning in two weeks.
Each Sabbath, each Sunday celebration of Resurrection Day dims over time as I return to my daily routine on Monday. The humdrum replaces the extraordinary, tragedy overcomes festivity, darkness overwhelms dawn. The world encourages this, and I don’t muster enough resistance. I climb right back into the tomb of my sin, move the huge stone back in place, and remain there, waiting for rot to settle in.
I am not alone. I have plenty of company with me behind the stone. There is no excuse for us to still be there.
The stone was pushed aside, the burden shouldered, the debt completely paid.
How can we not allow His light to dayspring our dimness?
He is risen. We are eastered. No need to sink down in darkness. None.
Your absence has gone through me Like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color. ~W.S. Merwin “Separation”
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. ~2 Corinthians 1:20
…you can read my heart, I hear you say: For once be present to me, I am here, Breathe in the perfect love that casts out fear Open your heart and let your yea be yea. Oh bring me to that brink, that moment when I see your full-eyed love and say Amen. ~Malcolm Guite — “Amen”
We become restless and uneasy in our separation from God, broken and empty, feeling unknowable and unloveable — we need mending and stitching with God’s colored thread.
Our answer to Him should be “Yes”, over and over.
God tells us “Yes”, again and again, that we may know Him as He is one with us, part of our lives’ weave and tapestry. Mere mortals like us experienced God born of flesh, as He walked, ate, slept among us.
Christ became the Yes, the consistent thread in our lives, the covenant God made with us. Still we pull away and say “No” as the unloveable are wont to do, regularly and emphatically.
When young Mary was told the implausible and incomprehensible would happen to her, her response was not “No way–go find someone else”. Her response was “Behold the willing servant of the Lord; let it be unto me according to thy word.”
She says, in essence “Yes! And Amen!”
How often do we respond with such trust and faithfulness, accepting Christ as the ultimate “Yes” from God, who ensures our everlasting salvation?
Let it be. Let Him run through our lives like a thread that never breaks. Let our Yes be Yes.
Jesus, Apple of God’s eye, dangling solitaire on leafless tree, bursting red.
As he drops New Eden dawns and once again we Adams choose: God’s first fruit or death. ~Christine F. Nordquist “Eden Inversed”
It has always been a choice no longer forbidden we are invited to first fruit
He offers Himself broken open
so our hearts might burst red with Him
The tree of life my soul hath seen Laden with fruit and always green The tree of life my soul hath seen Laden with fruit and always green The trees of nature fruitless be Compared with Christ the apple tree
His beauty doth all things excel By faith I know but ne’er can tell His beauty doth all things excel By faith I know but ne’er can tell The glory which I now can see In Jesus Christ the apple tree.
For happiness I long have sought And pleasure dearly I have bought For happiness I long have sought And pleasure dearly I have bought I missed of all but now I see ‘Tis found in Christ the apple tree.
I’m weary with my former toil Here I will sit and rest a while I’m weary with my former toil Here I will sit and rest a while Under the shadow I will be Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.
This fruit does make my soul to thrive It keeps my dying faith alive This fruit does make my soul to thrive It keeps my dying faith alive Which makes my soul in haste to be With Jesus Christ the apple tree.