“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her— 11 that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious bosom. 12 For thus says the Lord: I will extend prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm, and dandled on her knees. 13 As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. Isaiah 66: 11-13”
LISTEN TO: Unspoken "Good Fight"
Yesterday was The Crocus Day. Every year I look forward to it. It’s the day when out of the blue, in the midst of winter, the crocus flower appears. Yesterday, in the bitter cold of the Northeast, I saw my first bundle of crocuses in my front yard. They huddled under a bush, as if taking shelter from the bitter winds. However, there they were, in royal purple glory, heralds of spring around the corner, despite the signs to the contrary.
The crocus flower is a symbol of cheerfulness and glee. When the land still looks bare, the wind has a bite to it, and perhaps our interior landscape matches the cloudy skies overhead, it is important to have a reminder that life changes. We change. The little crocus invites us to lift our spirits, to notice those treasures and moments in life that bring us happiness and make us grateful. They remind us of the changes we can do to make a difference. There are crocuses hiding under the bushes everywhere, if we but take the time to see.
This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday in Lent, called in Latin “Laetere Sunday,” from the opening verses of Isaiah 66: “Rejoice with Jerusalem….” Laetere means rejoice. We have turned the corner of Lent, we are drawing closer to Jesus, and the mood brightens. It is considered a day of relaxation from Lenten rigors, with Easter now in sight. It reminds us that on every significant and difficult journey we need a break. Whether it’s a job project, a complicated relationship, or just in the midst of life’s forays, we need moments to renew, to breathe, to regain our strength, even to rejoice in our accomplishments and God's love. Even the great prophet Elijah had to flee to the mountaintop and rediscover the presence of God (1 Kings 19) and Jesus withdrew to pray and be alone (Luke 5:16). Surely we can take the time we need to stop and admire the crocuses.
Today, take time for the crocuses – whatever they represent for you. Find joy and cheer in this day. Stop and lighten the load. Breathe in the new life. Make some small change that makes a difference. Remember, spring is near. So is the Lord.
Prayer: “God of new beginnings, show me in the midst of my winter that your spring awaits. Help me find hope and renewal.”