- Religion and Philosophy
Spring Rain: A Meditative Photo Essay
Spring Rain: A Lullaby
I hear spring rain dancing on my roof
Making my brain sleepy as I type.
"Sleep, sleep, sleep," it drums.
I rub my eyes, tempted to close them.
As the drops fall, sending my brain into hibernation
I remember these same drops
Are calling new sprouts from the ground.
When I wake tomorrow, the earth will be green again.
Spring Rain: Earth is Green Again
Spring Rain: The Vines Awaken
The vineyards will drink their fill
As new shoots burst from newly pruned vines,
Stirred from their dormant state,
Ready to leaf out.
Spring Rain: The Oaks Also Wake Up
The oaks, too, are coming to life
After a leafless winter.
Their edges now are green
As they wake and shake in the spring wind
The Oaks Leaf Out In March
The Flower Colors of Spring
Spring Rain: Resurrection
Year after year the Lord of nature
Wakes his plant kingdom to
Paint the earth with colors
Human eyes have craved during a winter of deprivation.
Year after year, dawn follows darkness,
Day follows night
Spring follows winter
And resurrection follows death.
The One who created all seasons
And all life,
Who conquered death when he left his tomb
On that first Easter,
Reminds us every year that
death is but a path to new life.
God loves to speak in pictures to his people. From the beginning he had a plan which he revealed to us in the Garden of Eden and continued to communicate through his prophets, through his Son, Jesus, and through the writers of the New Testament. He has used the words of men to reveal his plan of redemption through the death of Jesus on the cross, and the good news of his resurrection three days later. God mandated the feast of the Passover for his people to celebrate to prepare them to leave their slavery in Egypt as the firstborn children of Egypt died and the Angel of Death passed over the Hebrews and they were able to escape.
The Passover pointed to Jesus, who would come thousands of years later and redeem his people and all who believed in him. John the Baptist called Jesus the Lamb of God, who would be the real atonement sacrifice for forgiveness of sins. God had instilled this picture in the minds of all Jews, since to remain a part of the Jewish nation they had to observe the Passover each year or be cut off from their people. Every Jew knew the meaning of the Passover, because God wanted them to be able to recognize the true Passover Lamb when he came.
While Jesus was on earth, he often spoke in parables, painting word pictures that illustrated his message. Almost anyone who has been to a Sunday School knows the parables of The Good Samaritan, the Sower, the Prodigal Son,and the Lost Sheep. He also used word pictures in the Sermon on the Mount . He told people not to be preoccupied with what they would wear and reminded them of the lilies of the field, who neither toil nor spin, which are dressed better than Solomon, the richest of the Jewish kings. He told his followers they were the light of the world and instructed them not to hide it under a bushel. And who will forget the story of the wise man who built his house upon the rock so it would withstand the rain, wind, and floods? (And the foolish man, who built on sand, whose house fell when subjected to those same elements.)
We also have the picture of the unforgiving servant who owed his lord a great debt. He begged his lord for mercy and the debt was forgiven, but that same forgiven servant would not forgive a smaller debt from a fellow servant and had him put in prison until he could pay. When the lord got word of it, he told off the unforgiving servant because although he himself had been forgiven, he would not forgive the other servant's smaller debt and would not show him the mercy he'd been shown himself. The lord then threw him into prison until he had paid all of his debt.
One prophetic story he told was about a man who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it and a winepress in it, and let it out to tenants. He then left the country. When it was harvest time, he sent his servants to get his fruit from the tenants, but the tenants beat one servant, killed another, and stoned yet another. (These servants represent the prophets.) The vineyard owner then sent more servants, and they were treated in a similar way. Finally, the owner sent his son, believing the tenants would at least respect him. But instead, the tenants thought if they killed the son, they themselves would be the heirs, so they took him outside the vineyard and killed him. Jesus left his listeners with this question: When the owner of the vineyard comes back, what will he do to these tenants? Their answer to him is in Matthew 21:41: He will put them to death and let the vineyard out to others who will give him the fruit due to him. This story refers back to what follows.
In the Old Testament, Israel is often referred to as a vineyard that God dug, cleared of rocks, planted with choice vines, watered, and did everything a vineyard owner could do for it, but instead of bearing good grapes, it yielded only wild grapes. In Isaiah 5 we read: ...O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard. What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? He pronounces judgment on the vineyard, removing its hedge, breaking down its wall, and letting it be trampled. Isaiah interprets this story: For the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry!
When God sent Jesus to his people to call them to repentance, and to bear the fruits of repentance, they had him put to death. He was crucified to atone for the sins of the world, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and on the third day he rose again from the dead. He was seen for forty days by many witnesses. Then he returned to Heaven, from which he had come. You can read all of this story for yourself in the first four books of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
As I see spring come each year, it is a picture to me of the resurrection as all the dormant plants come to life again. It almost seems here as though the late rains wake them up. Almost overnight the earth is full of color, and it is also time to celebrate Resurrection Day, or what the church calls Easter.