Snowdrop Blossoms

Brendan and I went for a drive to the country today. We called at a friends farmhouse. He has a garden that has been tended lovingly for about one hundred years. Different generations of his family before him have worked in the garden.

In January I look out for snowdrops, the harbinger of warmer days and spring. I have noticed an odd bunch here and there.

In the garden we visited today, growing under a budding Magnolia tree is a display of snowdrops. Their white heads have pushed through the dead leaves and green grass. The display of early blossoms reminds me of the following scripture from Isaiah 35.

35 Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days.
The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.
2 Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers
and singing and joy!
The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon,
as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon.
There the Lord will display his glory,
the splendor of our God.
3 With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands,
and encourage those who have weak knees.
4 Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
He is coming to save you.”
5 And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind
and unplug the ears of the deaf.
6 The lame will leap like a deer,
and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!

May the snowdrop blossoms cheer you. Be expectant of good days ahead. Healing will come to you. God is coming to save you.

From the Roar of the Sea to Stillness of the Flock of Dunlins

Today I am noticing birds. It is mid January and spring is in the air.  The sparrows are chirping in the hedgerows, the starlings are searching for food under the leaves:  the doves flit from branch to branch, and the little chaffinches chase away any intruders from the bird table.  Blackbirds are making an appearance from their winter hideaways.  The time for singing of birds has come, early!
 The earth is causing the first flowers to spring up.  I saw snowdrops today.  There are a sure sign for me of brighter days coming.  I bought the first bunch of daffodils this week.  I am reminded of the scripture
“Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.”  from the Song of Solomon 2:12 NIV.
Later in the morning I saw other birds.  Brendan and I went for a walk along the promenade in Newcastle.  The tide was high, the sea calm, with waves gently lapping on the rocks.  A few days ago the waves were crashing, splashing, and cascading onto the promenade, leaving sea weed and sand.  There was  power in those waves.
I looked closer at an area of beach covered in pebbles.  There was a little flock of Dunlins.  Their white bellies and grey backs enabled them to be camouflaged among the stones.  They were still and silent in unison, all facing the same direction.  The moment reminded me when people would be silent out of respect for someone important.  It seemed they were worshipping.  It was a holy moment.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and though its waters roar and foam.  He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:1-3, 10 NIV)
It was marvellous to look at the flock of birds.  Can we learn from these little birds and be in unity?  Sometimes one can be quiet for a moment, but for a group of people to stand in quietness without being told to is unusual.  Our world is full of noise, talking, traffic, radio, TV, music and machines.  Perhaps we can try with our friends or family to be quiet and still for ten minutes like the Dunlins.  Be still and know that I am God.
Creation is is declaring the Glory of God as the waves crash and the little birds together stand still, hidden among the stones.