Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Spring (the season) (07/23/09)
TITLE: 'New Life'
By Judith Whybrow
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It was on a fresh spring morning in 2006 that I found myself heading towards Canterbury town center, in England. As I sauntered along the tree lined road there was the unmistakable feeling of springtime in the dewy atmosphere. A feeling which almost defies words, for the air was filled with a sense of wonder and expectancy; the natural world waking up all around me, after the cold lifelessness of the winter months.
Here and there along the leafy route, I noticed tiny snowdrops fluttering in the gentle breeze next to hosts of yellow daffodils. Their heads appearing bowed as if in silent prayer. It filled me with a sense of awe because only a few months ago, this very soil which now heaved with life and vibrancy, appeared so dead and without any hope. The bulbs of the now gaily painted crocus’s had appeared quite lifeless, so how could such beauty spring from something so apparently dead? The air around my head stirred slightly and I became aware of the presence of the most beautiful Red Admiral butterfly. He was fluttering erratically through the gentle breeze, hovering above me one minute, then darting away the next, as if his very life depended on it.
As he disappeared into the distance, I couldn’t help thinking of how in nature the cycle of life; birth, death and yes rebirth, is quietly and subtly re-enacted every year. Even the Red Admiral butterfly only a few days ago was a seemingly lifeless caterpillar, shrouded inside his dark cocoon; but he had sprung gloriously into life, rising transformed into the sky above. Here too the story of our Lord’s death, resurrection and the promise of new life, appeared to re-enact itself.
The local church was now in sight, a stark wooden door stood invitingly open. The dark interior of the church appeared in complete contrast to the colorful ‘life’ outside of it. I peered inside to see the local vicar engaged in painting an object supported on some trestle tables. I barely noticed what he was doing but something made me go inside and speak to him. He chatted happily away to me, barely looking up, very much engrossed in what he was doing. After a while I ventured to ask him whether he would like one of my poems, as I had started writing Christian poetry just before the Easter period. He agreed to this as it was now nearing Pentecost, the time in the Christian calendar when the disciples were filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit, in the upper room.
On returning home I cheerfully put pen to paper after deciding to write something new. I thought I was writing a poem about Pentecost but it seemed to take on a life of its own. What evolved was a prayer of invocation, the reader asking God to fill them with his life giving Spirit. I named the prayer, ‘Holy Spirit Come’. It was then that I became aware of a strange word, coursing through my mind and it wouldn’t go away. “Maranatha, Maranatha, Maranatha”.
I didn’t know what it meant but felt compelled to find out more. I looked in several books but to no avail. Finally I went onto the net to discover that the word is Aramaic the language Jesus spoke, and means ‘Come Lord Jesus’. It meant virtually the same as the title I had given the prayer! I was not only shaken by this but felt strongly that I should rename the prayer ‘Maranatha’,
In days that followed I quietly pondered what had happened, latterly pushing the prayer with its letter of explanation through the vicar’s door. I’ll never know exactly what he preached that Sunday but I do know that when we ask Jesus into our lives through his ‘life giving’ spirit, we become just like the springtime butterfly, a new creation, with the promise of eternal life. The ‘evidence’ of his presence appears not only in the natural world around us but can as I discovered, also speak to us from deep within our very being.
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