It is rare that I notice the quiet opening of the trees to spring. This is probably because the trees make their annual transformation in the midst of a busy time in the life of the church and in my life as a pastor. If I’m honest, it takes an extraordinary act of will to stop long enough to notice, much less pay attention to, the quiet work the trees do in spring, opening to light and life in an explosion of color and beauty that the best artists can only approximate.
So it was a unique gift that Kim and I are vacationing in the mountains of western North Carolina the week following an early Easter Day. We are sitting right on the Eastern Continental Divide, at almost 4,000 feet, and most of the trees have yet to make their spring transformation. But there is this one tree, a dogwood, right outside the door of our house, that Kim noticed right away was about to bud.
That lone tree served as a grace and an invitation to notice, attend to, meditate on the quiet opening I too often rush by in my haste to be about “the Lord’s work,” as if this were not too, and more perfectly, the work of the Lord.
I have been reflecting on the week just past, with its own moments of quiet opening. The table of Thursday with an opening to receiving grace; the cross of Friday with Christ’s arms opening to embrace the world in suffering, agonizing love; Holy Saturday when all we could do was be open to trusting the God at work in the dark of the grave when we ourselves could not see; and the open tomb of Easter, alleluias breaking forth like Dogwood blossoms on a warm spring day, too many to count.
Today I am reliving that week while watching this tree, and anticipating the glorious season of resurrection we are just now entering. Throughout the day I want to share some of my thoughts from Holy Week in the form of the words I shared with the congregation I served during Holy Week My prayer is that they will spark your own memory, and help you slow for a time to attend to the signs of resurrection opening all around you this Eastertide.