First Light

Not long ago the sun began its annual springtime campaign: doggedly infiltrating the fringes of the night. Whereas during the winter months I would get up in the dark, now I find the sky is pale when I rise. I’ve seen more than a few spectacular dawns over the last few weeks daubed over crisp rooftops through windows, snared in the budding branches of trees like candyfloss or flame. The smaller birds are back from their travels. Well hello! they say all jaunty-like, jostling around the hedges like they own the place – because they do, because it’s spring.

Our estranged gardens have also gradually returned to us. I remember the first warmish and clear day a few weeks back when I heard the first yawning of lawnmowers roused from their hibernation. I said to Jo my wife: ‘And just like that the nation’s mental health went up two notches’. The steady thaw and dawning of the spring are very welcome. And it mirrors perhaps the tentative hope unfurling across the country as Covid rates fall, and the newsreaders announce each day (with impressive restraint) the growing number of the vaccinated. It still feels a little early to really let our hopes run wild; almost blasphemous to peruse holidays online or make post-Covid plans… and yet the feeling grows: maybe… just maybe

Easter is a time inevitably associated with the dawn and the coming of the spring. New life emerges from the necropolis of winter; just as Jesus comes blinking from the tomb, drinking in with joyful eyes a world returned to him, remade. Mary Magdalene mistaking him first for the gardener through tear-hazed lashes, now clings to his feet, as all her grief and fear and doubt evaporate like the dew on the bright lawns around her.

My hope and prayer for you this Easter is that you’ll find new life and fresh hope stirring in a tired heart; and that the wreckage of the landscape around us will, in every way, blossom with unerring promise. And not just the promise of a seasonal spring, a temporary respite; but rather that eternal spring which draws closer with each passing day: the Christ-assured Easter that clamours at the weary world’s rim, readying one day to flood everything with light.

Phil Durrant, Kidlington Baptist Minister