• Shawn Swinney

They Can't Cancel the Spring by Carolyn Scriven

The other day my sister said she felt as though the universe was taking a much-needed breathing space.

It is a breathing space that anyone concerned for the ecological crisis would have craved - although not of course through the means of COVID-19, the devastating virus with which we are now all-too familiar.

I still find it surreal. That something could have impacted the whole world, and changed human behaviour so drastically and completely, in such a short time.

Recently I came across this short, anonymous poem:

The learned man said

To the almond tree

Speak to me of God

And the almond tree blossomed

We may be in lockdown, but the environment is not. As the artist David Hockney said when releasing his new pictures of spring flowers done on the i-pad, ‘They can’t cancel the spring.’ It is worth checking these out if you haven’t seen them, particularly the first one - of daffodils - which was featured in the press.

Spring reminds us of our Creator, and we are especially blessed that the weather has been so wonderful during these first two weeks of ‘staying at home’. This year, Spring cannot be missed! God the Creator of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) continues to sustain and delight in his world.

How does this encourage us as we seek in these new circumstances to care for creation as God does? Two thoughts:

First, as one writer put it, ‘To care for Creation we first need to celebrate it.’ In celebrating the natural world around us this Spring we are led to worship the one who holds it all together:

‘Jesus is the image of the invisible God…

By him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth…

In him all things hold together.’ Colossians 1.15-17

Second, when our dependence on God is more apparent than ever at a time of such uncertainty and strain, we are reminded that the earth is the Lord’s and his purposes are eternal. We are secure in his love.

‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,

The world, and all who live in it.’ Psalm 24:1

Landscape is catching our attention in surprising ways as we get used to home-based living. Being outside is a respite, granted just once a day for exercise and all the more precious for that. My and others’ prayer is that recognition of the earth’s value endures into the future. Could a new normal include the cleaner air and purer waterways hailed as an upside in the current difficulties?

Carolyn Scriven

6th March 2020

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