Journeying through Lent
‘I wandered lonely as a cloud, That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden daffodils’…
Familiar words from William Wordsworth’s famous poem, written after taking a walk with his sister around Ullswater in the Lake District. And perhaps a familiar sight too. Daffodils accompany us throughout the time of Lent; appearing in gardens, parks and byways at the beginning of spring; gifted to mums on Mothering Sunday; planted in Easter gardens on Good Friday and then decorating an empty cross on Easter Sunday.
Daffodils are beautiful, reflecting as all flowers do, the beauty of God the creator. Flowers evolved 140 million years ago. Fossil flowers found in Portugal show the initial stages of evolution, since when flowers have diversified into the many species we see today. However, the reason plants evolved to produce flowers is not for our benefit, but in order to reproduce, by transferring pollen from one to another. Beauty and practicality combined.
As we journey through Lent towards Easter daffodils can symbolise for us those two aspects of God’s character – beauty and practicality. In the book of Deuteronomy the Israelites are reminded by Moses that – ‘the Lord your God is God’. God is glorious and holy. God is our God, beyond our imagining, quite beautiful. God is also a practical God, working out the best for creation, of which we are a part. That is why the Easter story, though harrowing in parts, culminates in the beauty of the resurrection.
As the season moves on daffodils fade and their beauty returns to the bulbs, hidden in the ground. But come next spring that beauty will be on display yet again, adding a sparkle to life – in words from the poem
…‘my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.'
In the same way we reconnect to the Easter story every year, rediscovering the core of the Christian faith. Luke in his Gospel tells the story of Emmaus, when disciples of Jesus had their ‘eyes opened’ to the meaning of the resurrection and, in a sense, began transferring pollen - the seeds of the good news - to others, a process that continues unabated today. From tiny seeds God enables eyes, hearts and minds to be opened to the beauty of faith.
Happy Easter ! Jill