March is here. We might even see some nice weather or is that wishful thinking?
I love to see the Spring flowers in bloom. Time for me to get out in the garden again and look after the plants. Some need pruning back because without that cutting back they will not be able to grow and flourish. Others will need splitting as plants need room and space to prosper. Some may need replanting in a better sunnier position to grow.
This is what Lent is for. Gardening of the soul! People tend to give up things for Lent but sometimes without really thinking "Why?". What's the point of giving up meat and eating fresh fish which is often more expensive? Why give up sweets and eat chocolate instead? David Adam, one-time Vicar of Lindisfarne, states very wisely that he is suspicious of people who say, "I do not smoke; I do not drink; I do not swear". He asks "What do you do? How do you live life to the full? How do you achieve the glory you were created for?".
Just like those garden plants it may indeed be a time to cut away those bad habits, and give ourselves more space to grow and flourish, or even to be transplanted. We need to grow so that we become the person that God wants us to be.
Lent is that time when we seek to know Christ, ready to meet him, suffering on the Cross, and experience the power of his Resurrection at Easter.
It is a time when we need to do a bit of personal gardening to discover what God is calling us to do and to be: to spend time seeking out a space, away from the busy every day, to look at our lives, and determine which actions and habits are good and nourishing and which are choking our growth. The we need to act accordingly. Remember, all that pruning is only truly productive if it leads to growth and fullness of life.
Rev Vivienne Starkie