This post is part of our “Gospel In The Everyday” series. Read our introduction to the series here.
Spring has sprung.
This winter was our first with a toddler – it felt like it lasted years not months! Seemingly endless rain, wind and bleak grey days forced us to spend many a Saturday in an artificially lit, soulless soft-play centre. Don’t get us wrong, we love soft play – Reuben’s occupied while we eat cake: what’s not to love?! But surely most would prefer to sit outside a stately home in the pleasant afternoon sun – cuppa in one hand, scone in the other? (Yes we are being stereotypically British here… but we’re unashamed).
So, given the recent upturn in weather, we’ve really been trying to make the most of it.
Daffodils, ducklings, blue skies! It’s almost like we feel more human by being able to step outside and feel the sun on our face, the grass beneath our feet and the stick in our mouth (no we don’t have a dog – it’s Reu who’s partial to a good stick at the moment).
Speaking About God Through Spring
One of the greatest joys of spring, however, is the opportunity it gives us to talk about God.
God’s attributes are wonderfully displayed by the beauty of this season:
- He’s kind and generous, giving us good gifts like sunshine and cherry blossom.
- He’s creative, designing the intricacy of the bluebells and marigolds.
- He delights in beauty and is the source of all pleasure, as seen in the frolicking of the lambs and the dance of the bumble bees as they skip and bounce across the meadow flowers.
So much about this season indicates joy and life – fauna and flora are teeming, wiggling, bursting with life – and all of this points to the kind and generous character of the mastermind behind it.
Worship Through Spring
In case you’re thinking that using these things to talk about God is overdoing it a bit, consider this: Worship happens all the time on a sunny day in Britain.
“Isn’t this weather glorious!”
“Oh look at the baby animals, aren’t they gorgeous!”
But often, if we look into our hearts, our worship is of the things themselves. And we can very easily pass that on to our children too. We sometimes fail to see that these good gifts all point to the self-giving, delightful creator behind them. As the puritan Jonathan Edwards said, the universe is “full of images of divine things, as full as a language is of words.” So if spring is so beautiful, then just imagine how lovely he is!
Why not determine, next time you experience one of these joys of spring with your children, to point them to the glorious giver behind it?
“Look Reuben at the little ducklings that God made, aren’t they beautiful!”
“God loves to give us things like strawberries Reu, because he loves to see us enjoying delicious things – that’s just the sort of God he is.”
“Look at the variety of the things that God has made – those graceful butterflies, and this slimy, wiggly worm, he’s so inventive!”
This is all exciting, but we think we can go even further.
Spring And The Gospel
More than simply talking about attributes of God from spring, there are also opportunities to chat about the gospel.
In spring we see a powerful illustration of the resurrection.
Winter can be bleak. Chilly winds, snow-laden scenes, hibernating animals and naked trees. The darkness creeps into the daytime, pushing the daylight out. All around is death and decay, as many plants and wildlife don’t survive the drop in temperatures. The frost comes to kill, and it comes to stay for months on end.
But then one day, after a long silence, when light and life are almost forgotten, new life suddenly begins to break through. Buds appear on the tree. Green shoots start to poke through the hard ground. The birds find their voices once again. Rays of sun break through the clouds, the temperatures rise, and we all know the seasons are changing and spring is on the way.
C.S. Lewis captures this beautifully in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Enjoy this quote below of when the White Witch’s curse of an endless winter is suddenly broken by Aslan’s presence.
“Every moment the patches of green grew bigger and the patches of snow grew smaller. Every moment more and more of the trees shook off their robes of snow. Soon, wherever you looked, instead of white shapes you saw the dark green of firs or the black prickly branches of bare oaks and beeches and elms. Then the mist turned from white to gold and presently cleared away all together. Shafts of delicious sunlight struck down onto the forest floor and overhead you could see a blue sky between the tree tops […] “This is no thaw,” said the dwarf, suddenly stopping. “This is Spring. What are we to do? Your winter has been destroyed, I tell you! This is Aslan’s doing!”
Through allegory, C.S. Lewis cleverly plays with how winter turning to spring pictures the coming of Jesus. It’s a beautiful scene. It’s a scene followed by the stone table which makes spring possible.
Winter turns to spring because of the reality that the stone table represents.
Do you remember that reality? Do you remember that scene? Let’s go there now.
Early one morning, while the dew was still on the ground, and the morning mist lingered in the air, a band of heart-broken women journeyed to the tomb of a beloved friend. They had come to love this friend deeply, they had followed his teaching, supported his ministry out of their own means, experienced his demeanor of gentleness, acceptance and love. They had come to believe that this teacher was God’s Messiah. But, just a few days before this, the unthinkable had happened. Their beloved leader had been brutally executed on a Roman cross. They had seen the way the sneering Pharisees had falsely accused Jesus, how the jeering crowds heckled for his execution, how the mocking soldiers viciously taunted and assaulted him, and how after all this, he had been nailed to a wooden cross to suffocate to death. The sun was eclipsed. The source of life had been mercilessly killed.
But the story didn’t end there.
As the women approached the tomb they were filled with confusion. The stone blocking the entrance of the tomb had been rolled away. The tomb was empty. Jesus was gone. Mary Magdalene spoke to the gardener through tear-filled eyes. “We are looking for our Master and we do not know where they have put him.” The gardener simply replied with one word, “Mary.”
At that moment, her world was changed forever.
She recognized that voice. The man standing before her was he. Jesus was alive! The impossible had happened. Grief turned to joy. Death turned to life.
It is the best possible ending (or beginning) to an epic story. The resurrection gives believers hope. Jesus has defeated sin and death and hell. When death touches the son of God, death itself dies.
Through this death and resurrection, we too have the hope of resurrection. We have hope that we who are dead in sin can be made alive. And spring beautifully reminds us of this.
Spring declares new life, resurrection hope, life emerging from death.
As the light nights return, we’re reminded of the certainty that the darkness in our hearts is being dispelled by the light of the world.
As the green shoots break through, we’re reminded of the green shoots of new life in our hearts as the Spirit transforms us.
As the Sun heats up and hard ground begins to melt, we’re reminded that the Son has broken through the clouds, and our frozen hearts are being melted.
Winter is over. Spring has come. Aslan is on the move.
Why not point your children to the gospel this spring?
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
1 Corinthians 15:55-57
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”
Spring has sprung.