The hymn, "In the Bulb There is a Flower" was composed by Natalie Sleeth in the early 1990s. The three verses offer a poetic vision that we might use as a prayerful meditation this second week of Lent. The first verse talks about mystery and hidden-ness of God's presence.
In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree; in cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free! In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
So often we don't see as clearly as we think we do. The obstacles that obscure our view becomes so ordinary and common place...that we don't even notice them. We come to believe that we have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So, we post it, tweet it. Gone is any sense of humility, that we might be wrong.
Think back ten years ago...2008. The first faint signs of the Great Recession were starting to be seen as the stock market skidded and slid. It was then that a car manufacturing plant in the city I was serving as pastor closed. Suddenly the problems of New York sent shock waves closer to home. My kids were barely in school. I did not even have a blog! Rarely do we ever look in the rear view mirror of life and think, "Yup, just as I thought!"
So, why exactly are we so certain and confident today? There is a phrase from a poem/prayer I use as a mantra in ministry, "Trust in the slow work of the Spirit." I could use, Sleeth's beautiful images. To trust in the slow growth of the seed in the soil. A seed goes down...reaching and establishing roots before it ever springs up. Or to trust in the process of cocoons...did you know that a caterpillar sheds it's skin several times before ever entering the chrysalis? I wonder if a few times the caterpillar might think this is finally the time to be a butterfly? Or maybe that is me being anthropomorphic. Because there are times I want the seed to grow faster, the butterfly to be born and the snow to melt.
Yet, we are called to wait with God. To follow the savory pace of God which means 40 years of wilderness wandering or 40 days of preparing for Easter's resurrection.
What are you waiting for right now? Medical test results? News about whether an apology was accepted? For spring to actually be sprung?
Hold onto that waiting. Is there some way trusting in the slow work of the spirit can give you strength and sustain and offer more than a trace of God's grace in these day?
I pray so.
Grace and peace ~~