It’s already March – a time for new beginnings and new growth. Nature reminds us that new and beautiful beginnings can come from things, issues, or situations that appear to be without life. No matter how old or how young I am, I’m always taken aback by the amazingly exquisite beauty that is spring. Every spring, every year, without fail.
And what does this have to do with the readings for today? The Old Testament reading (Deut. 11:18-28) talks of freedom of choice, and how that can be both a blessing and a curse (as in “be careful what you ask for…you just might get it”). Psalm 55 tells us to trust in God. The New Testament reading (Heb. 5:1-10) speaks of Jesus as living water and why we can trust him to sustain us. The gospel reading (Jn. 4:1-26) discusses what Jesus does with our trust (i.e. goes to the Father).
So what does all of this have to do with spring, and what do these very different readings have to do with each other? As people in a society as rich and consumer-oriented as ours, we constantly are having to choose; and we do so, sometimes wisely and sometimes not so wisely. The readings remind us that trusting in Jesus may be one choice that may not really feel like a choice, but actually is one. It’s a choice to let go – not being so invested in what we want that we forget about the divine intelligence directing a master plan – and that we are part of that plan. That’s about trust.
But back to spring. It’s God’s annual reminder of what can happen when we simply trust that “nature will take its course.” And that God can be trusted to produce beauty and new life from branches, stalks, and lives when that potential may not be visible to our eyes or even acknowledged in our hearts.