The end of life, the end of death.
I’m sitting here with a cuppa after an early morning winter task of cutting away the dead raspberry canes. Reflecting on the sudden surge in funerals and hospital visits lately. Good friends, family of good friends lost to us all; waves of grief mingled with a deep sense of compassion towards those now without their loved one.
Is that it? So brief a life it is too. I look out at the frost still covering the gardens full of dead leaves and barrenness and reflect that life indeed is kind of like the seasons.
Our first 20 years is like Spring, full of rapid growth, flowering, colour and exuberance, joy and hope.
Our next 20 years our Summer, full of strength and vigour. We have stamina and confidence and bask in its warmth as we go about our ventures and adventures.
Then comes Autumn, our 40’s and 50’s. Yes, we slow down but still enjoy vigour and strength in some measure, just like in nature, this is a time of much harvest. For many our finances prosper, our bank account builds up, we look to the future with perhaps a quieter confidence, but with a smile.
And then comes Winter, our 60’s and 70’s, creeping up at first, arthritis or some other annoyance, but as the years flit by, and they do with ever greater rapidity, annoyances and decay multiply, and like my Raspberry canes the time inevitably comes to lop them off to the ground (Mine are Autumn fruiting, and require this harsh winter treatment).
As the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, ‘there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun.’ But what hope does that bring us who are in the Winter season of life?
He just tells us of a time to die, or weep, or mourn.
Better for me to look to God’s revelation in nature this morning.
As I pruned those ‘dead canes’ off at ground level, I noticed something.
Buds, blushing ruby red, as though embarrassed at their fecundity. Tiny yet filled with promise of new life come Spring. So I cut off the strongest of them and planted them deep in another bed, to rest quietly through the remaining winter, quietly sending out roots and preparing for new life.
“I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. (Joh 11:25 MSG)
What a great encouragement those buds are. They point me to the sweet and sure promise of Jesus.
If you are in the winter season of your own life, here is real hope. Do not despair over the ill fortune of this season, or allow regrets over past seasons to spoil the joy on offer now. There is a new year ahead, and a new life ahead
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal. (Joh 12:24-25 MSG)