In the midst of this city with its constant busyness and noise and demands, it is hard to listen to the other gentle rhythms of life. But they are there none the less. And in these strange silent days perhaps one of the small blessings is the possibility of tuning in to those.
The tree outside my window is crowded with blossoms, hopeful and lovely, promising spring and fruitfulness. It is fighting against a cold and blustery day but is doing so valiantly.
The ecclesiastical calendar rolls on quietly but steadily too, and these days of Lent turn towards Easter. In fact today is a slightly unusual Feast day – the Feast of St Joseph, guardian of the infant Jesus, and first model of Fatherhood to him. (I just learned that Joseph is Patron Saint of Sicily – which must be why Saint Joseph is often evoked in films about the Mafia).
And as a result the prayers and readings from Morning Prayer step away from the often slightly bleak Lenten outlook, and speak of the incarnation “A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and the spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding… his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.” And the thing which always gives me great delight is the recollection that it is not just humanity which Christ redeems, but the whole of creation. As John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world”, and that word for world is Cosmos.
And so that constant, hopeful rhythm of creation and the church year reflects something more real, and more connected to eternity. And we should do the same. We are not justified by our works, we do not find our value in our productivity. “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength”. In the silence of this day, perhaps take a little more time to stop and listen to the quiet rhythms, to look more closely at creation, and in doing so listen more carefully to the gentle rhythm of Heaven, and know the constancy of the love of God.
[Sing] In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAx8gjQrsOY
[Pray] God our Father, by whose mercy
the world turns safely into darkness and returns again to light:
we place in your hands our unfinished tasks,
our unsolved problems, and our unfulfilled hopes,
knowing that only what you bless will prosper.
To your love and protection
we commit each other and all those we love,
knowing that you alone are our sure defender,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
from the Church of South India