I've been up in Ballarat for the weekend, spending some time with my aunt at her beautiful home. She has a lovely garden out the back which I have spent some time in and, perhaps because it is Easter and I am feeling very connected with my faith at the moment, I have found myself engaging in faith based reflection as I sit peacefully in this beautiful garden.
The garden was already well planted and established when my aunt brought the house, and the previous owner had arranged the plants so that there is always something blooming at all times of the year. I enjoy gardens like this, as they are neither too crowded in Spring or Summer, nor too bear in Autumn and Winter, yet my reflections as I considered the flowers were less about their beauty or their colours, but their resilience, the cycles they move through and the hope they inspire.
The flower is, I feel, the ultimate metaphor for the Resurrection. They grow, they live, they die, they wait, they are reborn when their season comes again. But it is not merely the Resurrection of Christ that is represented in the flower, but the personal resurrection of individual faith that I see too.
Faith is not a static thing, it grows and shifts and moves as a person experiences their life. Sometimes it shifts dynamically, other times it is subtle; sometimes it is a prominent force in a person's life, other times it just bubbles beneath the surface or it might have faded from a person's life entirely. But it can be reborn, resurrected, and it is often in times of personal crisis that we find faith again.
Now, I want to mention for a moment that when I walk about faith being 'reborn' that I am not talking about so-called 'born again Christians'. While these people often have a very strong personal faith, which is wonderful for them, those with a born again mentality often attempt to force their faith and beliefs on others, many times in violent and non-loving ways. They use bullying and shame to try and bring people around to their way of thinking: it's wrong on many moral and social levels. Whatever someone's personal beliefs, they have no right to try and force others to agree with them or to shame people who believe or act differently than they do.
But, back to my flower metaphor.
In that garden there is life, dying, death and rebirth. The flowers move through their cycles: some are alive, some are dying, some are dead, some are budding again: being reborn as it were. While this is a metaphor for life in general, faith comes into this again in the fact that it moves through stages in our lives. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, it is just a fact: faith and life intersect and intertwine with each other. Those who believe may feel it more strongly at different times, just as a flower may be blooming or fading at different times.
Perhaps because Easter is on my mind, but my reflections meandered off in this direction as I considered the loveliness of my aunt's garden. I'll leave it there for now, as I look forward to our Easter lunch and a little bit of chocolate to finish off.
You don't have to like me. I'm not a Facebook post.
Me With No Apologies.