Bristol United Church of Christ     "The Church on the Hill"
Bristol United Church of Christ         "The Church on the Hill"  

Pastor's Corner

Spring Has Sprung - Count on God


          Spring seems finally to have sprung.  As I write this article, we have had two or three days that seem to indicate that spring is here at last.  It may seem trite that we have been talking about the weather so much but we really have had an odd time of it since the solstice.  Any of us who have lived in northern New England for more than a couple of years must surely remember years with late cold snaps, early thaws, and April snowfalls.  So, why do we persist in complaining about a late spring?  The answer could be impatience.  We have all lived through a number of years and surely know that the number is indefinite, but limited.  None of us know how many more springs and summers we have and perhaps the more that lie in the past make us eager to savor those that lie in the future, or even in the almost present.  This is very human of us.  Because we know our time is limted, we have a wonderful ability to sabor our present time.  Because we have memory and understanding, we can remember the past and reasonably predict the stages and cycles of time and nature around us.  Still, we want this spring to get going and soon.


          There is a hymn that I love, written by Natalie Sleeth in the 1980's (so, a new one in the way the church seems to tell time) which mentions some spring things but really is much more about faith.  Hymn of Promise is a favorite of several people I know or have known.  It is the one that begins, "In the bulb, there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree."  It is hard NOT to think of spring when we hear that line.  After all, the verse goes on to mention that, "In the cold and snow of winter, there's a spring that waits to be."  But verse means so much more.  First, consider the bulb.  Are you a gardener?  We usually plant bulbs in the fall long before we will ever see the flowers that come forth next spring - if hungry critters don't find them and eat them and if they survive the unpredictable winter ahead.  Planting bulbs is an act of faith.  consider the second half of that first line of the hymn, "In the seed, an apple tree."  If planting bulbs for spring flowers is an act of faith, how much greater an act of faith is it to plant an apple tree from seed?  Perhaps you know this quotation:  "The meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit,"  by Canadian farmer Nelson Henderson.


          I believe that living a life of faith is a worthy endeavor for us all.  It does not mean that we must believe the unbelievable as some would suggest or even demand of us.  I don't believe that faith is synonymous with religion.  Religions may impose rules and standards upon adherents, and may have all sorts of academic positions to posit and claim and to teach us.  But that IS NOT faith.  Faith, truly, is about trust.  And to trust is to find another faithful.  God truly has been, and is, and always shall be faithful to us because that is who God is.  We may doubt in religions and religious tenets and even in religious people, but we may certainly trust in God who brings about the flowers and trees, the seasons and the new lives we live and experience each day.


Spring is here at last; praise God; keep the faith.  Amen.


Rev. Andrew


P.S. - Find the hymn in our hymnals #707