Thinking about it made me think about how many meanings, most of them positive and active, the word “spring” has in our language.
A spring is like a Slinky toy, a coil of metal that helps relieve the hard bumps in roads, in beds, in running shoes, and in life. A spring is also a source of running clear water that quenches thirst and cools tired, hot feet and bodies.
In fact, in the Bible, God promises springs of water in the desert as a great relief from the heat and dryness there. And in heaven there is a “river of living water” springing from the throne of God to nourish thirsty people.
“To spring” is a verb that means to rise suddenly and rapidly, to leap. It’s a word full of energy and hope. Sometimes people speak about “springing” someone from captivity: a freeing word. We speak of plants springing up from the ground: a growing word. And people of faith are promised that they will be sources of living water for their communities, water that springs from their hearts.
And then there’s the spring we’ve all been waiting for. Longer daylight, warmer days; planting seeds, grooming gardens; the return of robins and other singing birds; butterflies and lightning bugs and – oh no- mosquitoes. The peeper frogs will start to sing soon; the snow will melt, I promise, it’s true. Spring is truly a positive and hopeful and active word.
There’s a wonderful love song in the Bible called the “Song of Solomon,” and one of its verses rejoices in spring: “Arise my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come. The voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise my love, my fair one, and come away.”
Spring is a time of hope, a time of making plans for the future, a time of grace and joy and even of love.
And yet spring is sometimes a time of great loneliness, too. The expectations we all put upon how we’ll feel, and how much better things will be in spring sometimes leave us wondering how long it will take, when will it ever happen, when will things get better? I invite you today to be aware of your neighbors. Do they seem sad today? Are they not rejoicing as you are? Have they stopped going out, shopping, keeping their regular routines? I ask that you would check on them and let them know you care about their well-being. No need to get intrusive. Just let someone know they are of importance in their world.
A good place to get a sense of the long term of existence rather than the short term of this week or this season is by attending a place of worship. There you will hear the long, centuries long, story of human beings. You will sometimes hear of the mistakes people make, and of the correction and redemption that is available to everyone –even the ones who think they’re hopeless. There you will hear of promises made and promises kept, and you will have a chance to see that during worship spring always promises to spring forth in the world. No matter how sad, hard, or bad things look right now.
Spring is sprung, the grass is greening. I wonder where the flowers are. They’re coming. They’ve been promised. No matter how hopeless things look, spring is promised – a hopeful, active, growing time. Hang on. Look ahead. And hang on to the invitation to grow and love and hope that we all receive during worship.
Be blessed with hope this spring.
Rev. Dr. Marcia Dorey is pastor of Halifax Union Society.