It is always a pleasure to see the first snowdrops of Spring and to capture within your heart the purity, light and hope they yield in the midst of the dark, frosty cold of winter – minus 5 this morning!
No wonder they are the simple flower linked with Candlemas. Celebrated on Thursday 2nd February, Candlemas is an ancient festival in the church recalling the Presentation of Christ in the Temple at 8 days old (and/or purification of Mary in the temple, 40 days after the birth of Christ) and a day that marks the end of the Christmas season in the Church of England. The Prophetic appearance of Christ that day in the temple confirmed and assured those gathered, Jesus parents and priest Simeon and prophetess Anna of both his holiness and the light of salvation dawning amongst them. Luke 2:21-40
As I make my return to ministry after a 3 month rest and study period I am excited to put some of that prophetic creative energy that Christ shares with us to use. I am also aware of the changing years and the ways in which I need to adapt the busy life I have been living to a more realistic pace and one that can allow for more breathing or stopping places along the way. For I have discovered busy-ness in my case steals goodness. When I am over busy I become tetchy, inwardly disgruntled and my ‘can’t be bothered’ or ‘that’ll do’ attitudes creep in! I also pertain towards disconnect from God due to that same busy – ness. Busy – ness steals goodness. So whilst it is not all about a life of leisure, it is wise, circumspect, to look after that part of myself, body mind and spirit, that needs time to rest, to ponder, pray and reflect upon life’s journey. We all need time to listen, to actually hear (a different thing to listening) what the Spirit is saying. Simeon and Anna in their latter years spent their time in the place of prayer, waiting and spotting the prophetic signs of their days, so that when the Christ child appeared they had no hesitation in proclaiming his Godliness and holiness. Indeed Simeon speaks the prayer we now call the Nunc Dimittis and we favour it’s use often in evening prayer –
‘Now, master, you are dismissing your servant in peace,
Just as you said.
These eyes of mine have seen your salvation,
which you made ready in the presence of all peoples:
a light for revelation to the nations,
and glory for your people Israel.’
The second photo is a wonderful illustration. and whilst my phone camera is not superb I hope you can a see this little snowdrop spotted under a Daphne bush near our front door. It has inadvertently hooked its head over a low lying twig. It will benefit and share in the strength and support of the bush. It can lean upon the twig and rest its head with even more confidence – all snowdrops start with their heads skyward, straight up like white needles piercing the soil, and then just like the daffodils, as they prepare to open their heads heavy and lantern like they droop towards the soil from which they came. Adorned with beauty their bowed heads give glory to their maker. Look closely and you may spot a brave ladybird too!
Learning to rest and receive the help the Spirit of God brings us may require us to be less independent and more prepared to take the help He offers; to lean on Him, to bow our heads in genuine adoration, knowing that He holds us, lifts us, works with us – not against us. Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms, that old hymn says it all really – this is how the work gets done, by His spirit and not by muscle, might or by human power….
Every blessing as we prepare for Spring, it will be lovely to be among you again, and my thanks are heartfelt to our Trustees, Canterbury Diocese, and The Core Team who have enabled and overseen the ministry of The Living Well in my absence …prayerfully and with real aptitude, thank you, God is good!