April 1, 2015
An anonymous poet tells us “Summer is a comin’ in, loud sings cuckoo.” But, dear reader, our plan is to consider the preceding season which is Spring.
Geoffrey Chaucer, 14th century English prolific bard, was famous for his many works, especially “The Canterbury Tales.” He wrote of the “Aprille” with its sweet showers that pierced March’s drought to the roots. This was the ideal time for the faithful to travel on worship trips (if we were reading Chaucer, we would say “Pilgrim a-a-a-ages) to the Cathedral at Trent.
The word Spring, usually a noun, can be a verb also. When it’s time to change our clocks, we are reminded to “Spring forward, Fall back.” An encyclopedic dictionary reports that Spring, the noun is the season of new life and strong growth. Also we can note the vernal (spring) equinox, the point at which the sun crosses the equator from south to north, about March 21 the day and night are of equal length.
Right now, let’s fantasize about some imaginary interviews to the man on the street, the question is “what do you do when spring comes?” His response is “get out my shorts and my flip-flops.” The gardener is asked the same question, and the reply is “I plant my potatoes by the light of the new moon.” When a cattle rancher is presented with that same questions, he says with utter candor “it’s time to put the girls and the boys together.”
Our trusted Bible can speak to us about this season of Spring. Jeremiah the weeping Prophet cautioned faithless Israel “therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no spring rain.” In the Song of Solomon Spring is described so beautifully, we don’t even need the word “behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers have already appeared…and the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.” Psalm 63 is a prayer of awareness of God singing about “a dry and weary land where there is no (Spring) rain.”
Passover, in Hebrew is the beloved festival of the Jews as they recall their freedom from bondage in Egypt. It is also the first of the year’s harvest festivals, in the 14th day of Nisan, the month of March and April. It was to observe the gathering of the spring barley crop from which most of the bread of the people was made. It ended with a gigantic pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was marked joyous celebrations of Spring.
The second book of Samuel, verse 1 of chapter 11 relates “then it happened in the Spring when rings go out to battle that David sent Joab…and all Israel besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.” This chapter in the New American Standard Bible carries a sub-title “Bathsheba, David’s great sin.” Hosea was called a minor prophet because his words were few, but of quality in the sixth chapter he calls for a “return to the Lord…He will come to us…like the Spring rain watering the earth.” Amos was sheepherder from Tekoa, a defense city in Judea. He wrote of his many visions of God. For example, “a locust-swarm when the Spring crop began to sprout…(and) behold, the Spring crop (came) after the king’s moaning.”
The Apostle John was banished by Rome to the Island of Patmos, “Because of the testimony of Jesus.” His book of Revelation states that he “was in spirit on the Lord’s day.” The glorified Jesus, with a voice “like a trumpet” said from an open door in heaven “come up here and I will show you what must take place after these things.” John wrote of many different prophecies revealed, of blessings, curses, victories, the new heaven and the new earth, the New Jerusalem, the doom of Satan, judgment. Finally, we read of a different Spring from John “He said to me, it is done, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.”
Written by Pat Roberts
(Pat is Pastor John Roberts’ Mother)