After receiving the second coronavirus vaccination earlier this spring, I was outside where I observed the newly emerging leaves and flowers on my trees and plants. The mint green leaves and bright red and pink zinnias expressed a feeling of exhilaration and reborn freedom after more than a year of lockdown and concerns. Friends felt safe to gather outdoors for social times. The potted herbs flourished, the garlic was harvested, the zucchini grew and the tomato plants produced a small crop. Friends invited me to pick their plums and blackberries and trips were made to blueberry farms and orchards to purchase apricots and peaches. Then the work began as preserves and jams were made and produce was prepared for the freezer. Apples, plums and pears were donated for our Saint Mary’s “Apples Abound” fundraiser for the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund and a feeling of normalcy returned. Geranium cuttings were planted in preparation for next year’s hanging baskets.
The colours of spring and the late summer and early fall helped me spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Our minds can be captivated, stimulated, set at ease, encouraged, filled with hope and joy when we watch such things as the change in the seasons and the spectrum of colours that the seasons bring.
Similarly, the turning of leaf colour and their falling to the ground in early autumn reminds us of the progression of life. As I pulled out annuals and raked up leaves, I was reminded that this is not a mark of desolation but of the recharging of creation. Experience teaches us that hope for renewal is life giving. The bulbs, roots, tubers and decaying leaves that blanket the ground and are composted rest in preparation for another year.
So the COVID times, like the dark shades of brown and greys, are not hopeless or lifeless but marks of regeneration that are hard for us to see, and as Sarah Bessey wrote in one of her recent posts, we must “Keep not quitting. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep showing up. Keep praying, keep standing, keep working.”
Deacons call us to keep advancing even when we are overwhelmed with life in these COVID times. We all need to be reminded of the joy of life, and that God’s beauty in creation continually surrounds us. God’s bounty in creation points to life in the Kingdom. For now, might I suggest we focus on colour. Colour can be a reminder to replenish our spiritual lives just as it does so powerfully in the liturgical seasons.
Advent is coming. Blue is its colour. It signifies hope and expectation. It points to Mary and the gift of the Incarnation. So notice the liturgical colour when you worship this Advent. Notice the shift in colour in both in the physical world of creation and the spiritual world. May the colour of Advent – the colour of expectation- help you keep growing in your ministries of service and love in the name of Jesus the Christ and for the advancement of God’s Kingdom.