Today is the first full day of Spring – and in Windsor what a beautiful day it has been. The temperature reached over 30 C with the humidex. It was not a good day to be trapped inside, unless your office is air-conditioned – in which case it might be just fine.
The great poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote, “Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.” As I look around at the magnolias in full bloom, the crocuses that have bloomed out, the daffodils that are so brilliantly yellow, and the tulips about to show their colour, all against a lush green backdrop, I am certain that Rilke’s thoughts were penned on such a spring night – although probably in April not mid March. Thinks are blooming and at a rate that seems most reckless for this time of year. That said, we all love this early dose of summer weather on the first day of spring. Now we need not fret. We will see cooler weather very soon I am sure. But the last week or so has done wonders for everyone’s spirit. It is hard not to have an extra jump in your step when the warm and sunny weather brings colour and growth and new life. What new life can we give thanks for? Perhaps today can be for us a reminder to seek to offer gratitude for what springs anew in our lives.
Today also happens to be the anniversary of the printing of the first book. It was a Gutenberg Bible and it was printed on this day in 1457.
As we celebrate spring, as we see new life popping up all around us with its new opportunity and new graces, as we marvel at God’s created order and its ability to regenerate, let us also give thanks for the Word which also lends words of new life, new opportunity, regeneration, forgiveness and healing. The Old Testament reading in the Daily Office Lectionary for today is apropos:
Then he said to Moses, ‘Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship at a distance. Moses alone shall come near the Lord; but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.’
Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, ‘All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.’ And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt-offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of well-being to the Lord. Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he dashed against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.’ Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, ‘See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.’
We take our example from the prophets. It was important to the people who were led by Moses to gather around the word, to hear the word and for the leader to proclaim the word. Thanks to the Guttenberg Bible we now all have the Word readily accessible and at our fingertips. As we give thanks for the gift of Spring, as we ponder God’s creation, as we journey through our Lenten pilgrimage, let us commit to gather around the Word and hear God’s love proclaimed. Perhaps we ask today what the Word means in our lives and how we might better live according to that Word on our Lenten Journey!
PS > If it seems too much to have to pick up a book, not to worry you can download a Bible App for your iPhone, iPad, or Android. The Bible is also available for Kindle, and all other digital book devices. If Gutenberg could only see us now…..