snowdrops are particularly fine at the moment

Preparation is one of the vital aspects of the life of any organisation that is creating events.  Whether that is getting ready for Church on Sunday, or making sure that all is in place for something like the Parish Fete, or whatever.  Year by year, we mark off the times to ensure this or that is done on time.


Preparing ourselves for something is a slightly different thing.  By this I mean ensuring that we are in the right frame of mind.  Physically it is possible to carry out some task, but we can always tell if someone is really mentally engaged in it or not.  It is one of the challenges of leading worship.   Is it possible to do so without losing the sense that you are worshipping yourself?  Yes, is the simple answer, but it does become easier as one does it more and more.  


Jesus frequently used the living world, especially the farmer’s field, as a metaphor for spiritual growth, decline or challenge, but the physicality of the picture is something that anyone who gardens just enjoys.  I have put in a row of broad beans, and am planning more sowings in the coming weeks, but in doing so, one can’t help but think of the picture that Jesus paints of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.  We do these things in our gardens, but every moment of every day, without human interference there are sowings and there is reaping, soil receives seeds and birds eat them; flowers blossom and die back and new growth appears from apparently barren land.  As heavy rain falls in Australia and at least a third of the fires have been extinguished, the loss reckoned on a vast scale, but life will come again.


I read a few days ago of the swallows leaving South Africa about now.  They will travel 12,000 miles to be with us in April.  Their journey over land and sea is one of the miracles of nature, of which many surround us all of the time.  So far, for a little bird weighing perhaps an ounce.  Spring bulbs are flowering, and there is white blossom on some early wild fruit trees; song birds are welcoming the dawn; the force of new life is bursting out everywhere.  There is so much to see…. so much to listen for…..


John Mann