I write this message on March 20, 2019. It is the day of the Vernal Equinox, or the first day of Spring. For six months or so, day will be longer than night.
This day comes after what has seemed to be an endless winter. Even as I write this, the sky is gray and the temperature is lower than average for this time of year. Yet, slowly and almost imperceptibly, new life is beginning to emerge. It comes with the sighting of new buds on the tree, the first shoots of spring flowers, or the appearance of the first robin of the spring. Soon to come is the aroma of moist warm soil after a spring rain. All of this is the power of life springing forth in ways both seen and unseen. The force and energy of God’s creative power is at work.
A German language poet named Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 – 1926) wrote about this creative power in the following untitled poem:
I find you, Lord, in all Things and in all
my fellow creatures, pulsing with your life;
as a tiny seed you sleep in what is small
and in the vast you vastly yield yourself.
The wondrous game that power plays with Things
is to move in such submission through the world:
groping in roots and growing thick in trunks
and in treetops like a rising from the dead.
Rilke, writing in the tradition of Christian mysticism, is presenting a case for the God in all things. He sees the Lord in all things big and small. He sees the power of God manifested in the life energy of God flowing out in waves, stretching out in all things and in all directions, quietly, almost imperceptibly. It happens at its own pace and in its own time, moving in “submission through the world.” This kind of power is “like a rising from the dead.” Sounds a lot like the resurrection, doesn’t it?
The magnificence of the Grand Canyon was not created in one day. It is the result of hundreds of thousands of years of the flow of water working its way through layers of rock. The Great Lakes were formed by the force of ancient glaciers making their way south and digging into the soil. As those glaciers melted and receded, they left behind mounds of rocky soil and water to fill in the empty spaces. The great reef systems under the oceans were created not in an instant, but in layer upon layers of coral deposited over vast amounts of time. These are examples of the “wondrous game that power plays with Things, moving in submission through the world.”
As you become aware of the signs of spring, allow yourself to reflect upon life that is emerging all around you. At the same time, recognize the life of God that is at work within you. It cannot help but to change the way you view the world!
Have a Blessed Holy Week and a joyful Easter!
Pastor Dennis Kelly