As Holy Week approaches, the theme of life out of death/resurrection recurs in the Bible stories both on Sundays and during the week eg. the raising of Lazarus. The readings try to prepare us for this incredible concept Life from Death. In some ways, the path of Lent for 40 days, the wilderness, the wrestling with our sins, faults, defects (whatever you wish to call them) is just this—death, and then the Life/hope that God is in fact doing something about yourself, your sins and defects. The Biblical parables on this theme are too numerous to mention; God knows his human creatures are slow of fervor and heart to get His point. For me, this concept is symbolized by the branches in front of the Begijnhof altar, carefully tended by the ever vigilant Flower sister (she may never know how I have watched this klatch of branches). These branches seem to know their time is soon to come, and they are wildly blossoming with budding tender, soft, green leaves. I adore watching them from my choir seat not a few yards away. The branches speak to me of hope and the love and tender patience of God for His creation so unlike me and my hardness, slowness and mercilessness. Yes there is the possibility that I can be transformed into a more loving and merciful creature, living more closely with my God. These budding branches are here to assure me of it!
The prayer plant of which I so often speak, also bespeaks of light from darkness, life from death from its corner in the wilderness of the chapel. I spied the plant one day and was sure it had been turned around as it was leaning so far forward stretching and straining. No…on further investigation the two large and strong stems laden with leaves have simply turned themselves toward the light and are reaching out for the creator and His light from yonder window. This is so like us reaching for the light or hoping for the light from our corners of darkness. Such hope and such a message from God’s natural creation. God’s world sends messages if we are only looking.