Finally the big day is here, the first day of spring, March 20th. Does your garden agree with the calendar? Even recent mega-snow storms cannot hold back hope for glorious renewal, bulb tips appearing, perennials peeking from barren ground, trees smitten with budded boughs. Hope is a magnificent storm all its own; that is, to lay siege to faith and love flourishing, set free alongside sweet evidence that all is alive again. Faith and love spring from hope, Paul tells us:
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people — the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven.
Colossians 1:3 – 5 NIV
The wording in NIV’s translation is a double-play for a gardener’s heart, spring the season, and spring the momentum that ushers in faith and love. We need only peek into the Song of Songs’ springtime hymn to see this truth playfully displayed:
Him: Arise, my dearest, my beauty, and come away with me. Don’t you see? The winter is done. The rains and clouds have come and gone.
The flowers are unfolding in the fields; the birds are warming up their songs, The cooing of the turtledove is heard throughout the land.
The fig trees are bringing forth their first fruit, and the vines are in blossom, filling the air with their fragrance. So arise my dearest, my beauty, and come away with me.
Song of Songs 2:10-13 VOICE
The “Him” and “Her,” Lover and Beloved, embody the vernal season in their vibrant display of love, eager to be together, lighthearted by the new things growing in the orchards and gardens.
God’s love brings his light right through us, his glory rising over us, waking us up as the garden wakes up in spring:
Arise, shine, for your light has broken through! The Eternal One’s brilliance has dawned upon you.
See truly; look carefully—darkness blankets the earth; people all over are cloaked in darkness.
But God will rise and shine on you; the Eternal’s bright glory will shine on you, a light for all to see.
Isaiah 60:1 – 2 VOICE
In this season, we arise to a new birth, a living hope: Christ’s new birth, resurrected, triumphing over all darkness, evil, and death.
Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant and boundless mercy has caused us to be born again [that is, to be reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose] to an ever-living hope and confident assurance through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
1 Peter 1:3 AMP
First Day of Spring
Good news has come to us, let the spring greens proclaim it! Doesn’t the hope of spring steeped in our psyche affirm it? Love has ensured our new life in Christ — plant every flower, smell every breeze, taste every asparagus spear and believe it!
Spring is in the air! The birds and zephyrs proclaim it, and down in the woods there are signs of the spirit of life astir in the underground dreamers. The tiny heralds of — spring — Snowdrops . . . Crocuses — arrive in March and are the advance guard to the floral procession, strewing the way with waxen buds, and bringing welcome tidings of the flower-train to follow . . . and the gardener is about again, glimpsing below and above for signs of renewed life.
— Louise Shelton, The Seasons in a Flower Garden, 1906
Prayer: Merciful Lord, may the jubilant burst of spring — the hope confirmed after the long, dark winter — fill me with your love! All that I hoped for in my garden all winter is arriving with this first day of spring. Let this fill my heart and mind with assurance that you rise over me (Isaiah 60:1) and fill me with lightness and joy, gladness and hope. In heaven, you have even more stored up than all I see in spring (Colossians 1:5). Wow! Praise be to you, Lord, for your living hope (1 Peter 1:3).
Hope is a garden defined! By its very working, the garden gives us something to look forward to — a good, glorious growth taking place or soon to dazzle us, one that lifts our hearts whenever we imagine it. Find Garden Hope is a 7-part devotional series for the Lenten season, matching God’s Word to garden antics and imagery and preparing our hearts to celebrate Christ’s resurrection with deeper union and delight.
Photo Credits: ©2018-21 Shelley S. Cramm
AMP notes Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
NIV denotes Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.®
VOICE denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Voice™. Copyright © 2012 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.