Springing into Action

As I looked forward to May, I have always marvelled at the RHS Chelsea flower show. I have never been but always watch the highlights on the television. It is amazing to see gardens created from nothing in just three weeks. What you do not see is the elaborate plan which has been in place for a year, the skilful care to slow plants down in a fridge or to speed plants up in a hot house. What you do see is a place that you could imagine yourself sitting in and enjoying nature and maybe escaping the hectic pace of life. Even better you get to enjoy it without the hard work and difficult choices to bring it into being!

The important question for May is will it be cold or mild. I am a rather poor gardener and would not want to offer any advice.  However, my father was always insistent that you can still get a sharp frost in May and he would wait for the end of the month to plant out his cherished seedlings. By contrast early in May, my father-in-law would be planting out all his annuals that he had just bought from the garden centre. If I am really honest, I cannot remember a time when my father-in-law lost any of his early planting. Yet despite the evidence to the contrary, I am still very cautious and will wait until the end of the month. When do you spring into action?

In the Church year, both Ascension Day and Pentecost are early, on the 9th May and 19th May. As we look back to Easter, Jesus’ disciples and their shortcomings are all too painfully clear. Yet Jesus comes, finds and restores his disciples despite their failures. On Ascension Day, we see a new confidence in the disciples as Jesus sends them out to tell the whole world about God and Jesus. Jesus tells them to wait for Pentecost, to receive the Father’s promise of power from on high. They only have to wait ten days but we are told that the disciples undertake this task with joy seeking God’s help. It is such a contrast to Easter when they were fearful and lost. On Pentecost, they speak to the crowd about the crucified and resurrected Jesus. The crowd listen and some of them believe in the testimony and become followers. Jesus’s followers spring into action,  inspired by Jesus’ example. Like the disciples, we often get things wrong and are sometimes dispirited. Yet the assurance of God helping us gives us the confidence to keep going, keep trying and not fear failure. Is it time to spring into action, to be inspired by the created world which surrounds us? We need to be generous and compassionate, just as God is towards us.