‘Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come…’
We love to see blossom on a tree –we know that the tree is healthy and we admire its beauty. Blossom also tells us that winter is on its way out and spring has arrived. Psychologists tell us that people feel better when they see blossom.
The flowers that make up blossom have a purpose – they contain the male and female parts, thus enabling the tree to reproduce and multiply. Some trees such as cherry trees, bear showy flowers that attract pollinating insects. The insects may be lured by scents but are always rewarded with nectar. Other trees rely on wind for pollination. Their flowers consist only of the reproductive organs surrounded by green bracts. Usually they arise in catkins with male blossoms in one cluster and females in another. Some trees such as willows and hollies have distinct male and female trees.
The Bible links the blossoming of the land with the deliverance of Israel and the joy of the redeemed. In Isaiah 27:6 we read, “In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit”, and Isaiah 35:1, “The desert and the parched land will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus it will burst into bloom, it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy”.
In Song of Songs, spring heralds the time for love: “See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my beautiful darling; my beautiful one, come with me”. (2:11-13)
In the ‘spring’ times of our spiritual journey we can feel close to Jesus and excited about what he is doing. Or perhaps we can remember seasons in our lives when we have been blessed richly and it felt like being covered in blossom. Blossom hides any disfigurement of the tree structure which is so visible in winter. This is the time when we can renew our commitment and put down strong roots by deepening our relationship with God through reading his word, spending time in prayer and connecting with other believers. We must also remember that behind the blossom a seed has been developing –the very seed of the life of Christ which was sown in us by the Spirit of God when we first committed our lives to Him. God wants us to be fruitful – in John 15 Jesus said “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples”
However, blossom can be spoilt by a late frost and falls easily after strong winds and heavy rains. Likewise, out times of spiritual elation can be easily thrown by setbacks and disappointments and the year that started so full of promise, returns back to a winter experience. We are reminded in the book of Habakkuk, that we can still have faith in God’s provision regardless of circumstances, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop failed and the fields produce no food…yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour” (3:17-18), and that the testing of our faith develops perseverance (James 1:2).
Heavenly Father, thank you for the beauty of spring blossom and the way it reminds us of the ways you have blessed us out of your abundant riches and grace. Help us to persevere when circumstances turn against us and your promises are not fulfilled. We choose to trust your timing and invitation to draw closer to you. Amen