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All Things Created

Sister Doreen’s Reflections

Canadian Church Calendar Anglican 2024 has as its overall theme this year “All Things Created”. The February Scripture Theme: Hosea 14:5

(photo taken from images on Google)

“I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots.”

This is a wonderful combination of images in Hosea, to describe Israel (meaning all humankind, everyone, me and you, who is searching and yearning for a closer relationship with God, themselves, and others on their spiritual journey in life).

The early morning dew, you and I have seen it with our own eyes as it drenches the thirsty land with its refreshing life and vitality. It comes secretly, silently, slowly, and unobserved, and yet each tiny droplet gently softens the iron-hard soil, the parched ground, refreshes the lush grass and allows the joy of life to pour into the withering or thirsty plants, reviving, reinvigorating, rejuvenating, and replenishing. So, it is with God’s love, calling us back, giving us renewed strength and determination. God longing for us to come and make ourselves at home.

The lily is one of the most productive plants. One lily plant can produce many additional bulbs while it is buried in the ground all winter long. With the dew and gentle rains of Spring, it quickly shoots straight up, topped by a lovely bloom or blooms. Its roots are very shallow, and the lily is very easily pulled up. So, it is with God’s love, enabling us and challenging us through all the changes and chances of this life to grow and become more who we are and who we are meant to be. God longing to revive, strengthen, restore and fill us with that first love when we gave ourselves to God, enabling us to be a creative partner with God in the world around us.

The cedars of Lebanon are mentioned throughout the Bible and described in various places in one or more of the following descriptions: stately, evergreen, slow growing, long branched, durable, and sweet-smelling trees. They grow very tall, and their roots are said to go as far down in the ground as the tree was tall. It is interesting to note that these huge trees start as little seedlings, that are easily plucked up or eaten by grazing animals. However, if they survive long enough to gain some size, they then can endure storms, drought, and countless environmental concerns, building strength and a solid footing. So, it is with God’s love as we face the many challenges and experiences of life, using these to help us grow deep roots in our faith, in our confidence, and in our commitment. We all desire deep roots in our faith, like a solid rock – ‘on God the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand …’

In musing about the imagery of the Lily and the Cedars of Lebanon and the dew, this passage from Hosea brought a smile to my face and my heart. It is set amid one of God’s most tender and loving Old Testament conversations about us. “I will heal their waywardness. I will love them lavishly. … Everything you need is found in me” (Hosea 14:4 Message translation). 

And God has promised even more wonderful blessing to follow, of which we are incapable of imagining: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into our hearts, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor. 2:9) These are expressed in a beautiful hymn in Common Praise #548 the refrain of which goes: “Eye has not seen; ear has not heard; what you have ready for those who love you. Spirit of love, come, give us the mind of Jesus; teach us your wisdom, O Lord.”

It is so easy to forget these things as we try to live through everything that surrounds us in this world today. It is easy to become weary and worn, discouraged and downcast. Lent is a good time for reflection, a good time to remember. The imagery of the lilies and the cedar trees and the dew are all gifts that God holds out to us, new each day, for us to take and use.

From “Gather” a hymn book we use at the Convent: #484 we hear God speaking to us –

Come back to me with all your heart. Don’t let fear keep us apart.
Trees do bend, ‘though straight and tall; so must we to others call.
Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.

The wilderness will lead you to your heart where I will speak.
Integrity and justice, tenderness you shall know.
Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.

You shall sleep secure with peace, with faithfulness will be your joy.
Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.