We kindle our flame of fellowship.
May it be to us a symbol of springtime's returning warmth
and the divine light that shines in every loving heart.

Winter looses her grip reluctantly.
Chill winds, cold rain, flurries of snow;
bright frosty mornings, dark evenings and
dull, cheerless days: these are not yet
altogether behind us, so we pause in reverence
as the season of nature's rest gives way
to her successor.

The Lenten Fast is with us.
We remember the wilderness days of Jesus;
his lonely struggle with the inner tempter,
the wild beasts for company and angels
attending to his needs. We struggle too, in
a cluttered wilderness of pointless busy-ness,
possessed by our possessions. We leave no
room for wild beasts or angels; we cannot
see the starlit glory of the desert sky.
Holy One, help us to be still.
And may our minds and hearts respond.

Everywhere spring is waiting to explode.
She can hardly restrain herself!
Snowdrops give way to daffodils;
leaf-buds strain to open and pollen-dusted
catkins announce the coming of fertility.
The season of birdsong is finding her voice.
Give us eyes to see and ears to hear,
open our souls to the earth's reborn splendour.
And may our minds and hearts respond.

The wilderness is not a place to stay;
we are not born for solitude.
Jesus wrestled there alone and
won his holy struggle with himself.
And then he left it, knowing his purpose:
to proclaim God's empire of love
and invite us all to be its free citizens.
May we too leave the wilderness,
with new resolve and clearer purpose.
Guided through struggle to wholeness and a world made one.

The interaction of fertile ground with
heaven's gifts of light and warmth and rain
produce the miracle of germination and growth.
Our ancestors danced and sang to celebrate
the union of Mother Earth and Father Sky.
Springtime resurrection was their great festival,
and Easter was her name. May we too rejoice
that out of winter's dearth and seeming death
the life and plenty of the earth is born again.
For we are her children and her dust.

Lent leads us towards another Easter,
another resurrection, another celebration
of the power of life to break death's hold.
But first the path of pain - the path of anguish,
betrayal, and ultimate desertion. The self
surrendered, as witness to the truth of love.
On the cross, Jesus knew nothing of Easter Day.
Through this season of preparation let us
remember all who share his cross today,
martyred for love and for humanity. And
when the third day dawns and we celebrate
the divine triumph of the human spirit, may
we not forget their myriad Calvaries.

In the name of all who have walked the way of sorrow, Amen.

May the blessings of the earth delight our springtime days,
and may the love of God that flowered in Jesus be with us,
in us and between us, for ever. Amen.

Cliff Reed

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