Spring changes everything; even the air smells different and it is so delightful those first times you get to open up the windows. The stale, dry, heated air of winter is replaced with air that feels alive with possibilities. When the ground thaws and the snow melts and or with the first rains, the soil gets an earthy, fresh smell that almost begs to be planted. It smells like new life. And that’s just the air.
Then there are all the other changes, the length of the days, the frozen ground that turns to dark mud and then gradually begins to grow again. It always sneaks up on me, it seems as though in one day the grass has gone from dormant browns and grays to green – with bits of yellow dandelions thrown in for bright contrast! The trees and bushes take on their green more slowly.
The birds have been waiting just as impatiently for spring, it seems and now they are rejoicing as much as anyone else. There must have been a migrating flock of robins the other day for there were scores of them all in one place the other day. I have never seen so many robins at once before. And of course, with the fields melting and the flood coming, the waterfowl have been following the rivers on their southern migration. In the past couple of weeks, I have seen Canadian and snow geese, mallard, wood, teal, and all kinds of ducks and coots, swans, white pelicans, and loons. I’m sure the farmers are anxious for the water and waterfowl to leave the fields so they can begin planting. It will be late this year.
All of this change, new life, and new possibilities are such an appropriate setting for the seasons of the church year as we finish out the 50 days of Easter celebration and celebrate the birth of the church on Pentecost Sunday, May 12th. We will hear again the story of how the Holy Spirit blew through the temple that day and filled the disciples of Jesus Christ, changing them from a scared and timid band of grieving friends to the leaders of a movement that went on to change the world. I wonder if the air had that same spring smell of new possibilities that is blowing outside these days.
What of us? Are we ready to let the fresh air of the Holy Spirit blow through our house and change our lives? Can we make room for new life and new growth or will we hang on the brown and dormant old growth of times past?
Change is never easy because like spring, we are not in control and we never know when and where the changes will happen and what the changes will be. About all that can be promised is that like spring, if we let the Spirit of God blow through, we will be amazed and surprised by God’s love and abundance.
In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (by C.S. Lewis), Lucy asks the lion Aslan (the Christ figure in the stories, The Chronicles of Narnia) why didn’t things happen they way they did before. Aslan answers that things never happen the same way twice. We have to learn and we have to trust in God. The Pentecost of Spring invites us to let God blow through our lives and breathe in the promise of new life and always the abundance of God’s love.
"What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." John 3: 6-8