Over the past seven days something utterly predictable, and yet nothing less than miraculous, has taken place. The world has turned green. Almost over night the pastures north of Dallas have transformed from dormant stubble into lush green grass, much of it what I call winter grass. But the coastal Bermuda is there, starting to grow. Almost every tree is in full bloom, and even the late-blooming Mesquite is starting to bud. That is the surest sign that Spring, or what our neighbors to the south call the Primavera, has finally reached the 33rd parallel. For my friends to the north: Be patient. It is moving your way. It is unstoppable.
Longtime readers know that I find confirmation of God’s written word in nature. St. Francis called it God’s “original revelation.” All the great themes of the Bible – including creation, redemption, crucifixion, and resurrection – can be seen in the dynamism and rhythm of the natural world. Even St. Paul used this remarkable metaphor in the 8th chapter of his letter to the Romans: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now.” In north Texas, the labor pains have subsided, and the creation has given birth to a new season!
Ray Hunt was one of the world’s greatest horse trainers. He didn’t believe in “breaking” a colt, preferring instead to turn a horse into a willing partner. One of my favorite cowboy sayings comes from him: “Pay attention to what happened before what happened happened.” There is great wisdom in those words, and I have turned to them on many occasions. Regarding the recent arrival of the Primavera, let us remember that this is what happened before what happened happened: The sky was grey, the wind was cold, the earth was barren. But buried beneath the dark earth new life was churning, groaning, striving. The birthing was still hidden, but it could not be stopped. Each year it happens right before our eyes, a multi-splendored resurrection of life that had been, for a season, buried in darkness.
If there is darkness in your life right now, please know that all of creation is groaning in labor pains, that God is at work in your life, birthing in you a new season, new joy.
Rev. Don Underwood