Birds, buds, blossoms, and brighter days heralding the hope of Easter

Photo:Jacky Parker Photography/Getty Images, via The Guardian

This year Easter matters more than ever in the age of the coronavirus

Hope is the Message of Easter and the Resurrection of Spring

Despite – or perhaps because of – my Persian upbringing, nonetheless, since marrying my English wife in 1974, I have always been a sucker for the Easter story, offering a message of hope – that even after the greatest pain, there is renewal.

The message of Easter, and the signal sent by the arrival of spring, is that life will return, one way or another. At times of crises, this story is timeless and priceless, let’s cling to it.

Photo:quickenme.com

Easter is HOPE: As far back as the 6th century BC, the Greek poet Theognis of Megara said: “Hope is the one good god remaining.”

As the poet Theo Dorgan reminds us, hope is a profound act of imagination, the most important and the most neglected of the civic virtues.  In the face of the present coronavirus pandemic and other societal and global crises we can lie down in despair, or we can choose hope — which means placing all our faith in each other and in the boundless capacity of the imagination to reinvent circumstance, to establish new truths.

We are no mean people.  We have hearts and minds, we care for each other still, we have our dreams — and in dreams, as the poet Delmore Schwartz once said, “in dreams begin responsibilities”.  It falls to us, this Easter, to assume the responsibility of dreaming a new world.

'There are plagues, and there are victims, and it’s the duty of good men not to join forces with the plagues.'

'They knew now that if there is one thing one can always yearn for, and sometimes attain, it is human love.'

The Sweetness of Being Human: ‘We have all of us one human heart.’

We are in self-isolation but we are not alone, we are not lonely, we are together in HOPE

Promise of Easter and Spring is HOPE and Renewal

Easter is the time of hope, reflection, contemplation, imagination and renewal

 

'Let me seek, then, the gift of silence, and poverty, and solitude, where everything I touch is turned into prayer: where the sky is my prayer, the birds are my prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer, for God is all in all.'-Thomas Merton

'I walk with beauty before me;

I walk with beauty behind me;

I walk with beauty above me;

I walk with beauty below me;

I walk with beauty all around me;

Your world is so beautiful, O God.'-Navajo prayer

‘When a tsunami of crisis hit him on the shores of fear, hopelessness, helplessness, self-doubt and destruction, he let nature embrace him to give him hope for better days to come.’

Discovering the Presence of Beauty, Hope, Renewal and Resurrection in Nature

Dear Friends of the GCGI,

As the season of Easter begins across many countries around the world, we at the GCGI extend the season's greetings and our best wishes of love, peace, renewal and hope to you all.

At this beautiful time of the year, flowers and blossoms are blooming, birds are singing, butterflies are dancing, and the days are getting brighter and longer. What better way to sing the praises of Spring’s arrival than to read beautiful poetry. Here are two poems we would like to share with you: One from Hopkins and the other from Wordsworth: Celebrating the joyous Spring with Hopkins and Wordsworth

Over one hundred years ago, on the official first day of spring, the Anglo-Welsh war poet and naturalist Edward Thomas  set off from Clapham Common in London to cycle and walk to the Quantock Hills in Somerset. The record of his journey, called In Pursuit of Spring, became a nature-writing classic, telling of exuberant chiffchaffs and house martins, daffodils and cowslips in full flower and "honeysuckle in such profusion as I had never before seen"... ‘In Pursuit of Spring’

‘But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.’-Job 12:7-10

‘The first act of divine revelation is creation itself. The first Bible is the Bible of nature. It was written at least 13.8 billion years ago, at the moment that we call the Big Bang, long before the Bible of words. “Ever since God created the world, God’s everlasting power and divinity—however invisible—are there for the mind to see in the things that God has made” (Romans 1:20). One really wonders how we missed that. Words gave us something to argue about, I guess. Nature can only be respected, enjoyed, and looked at with admiration and awe. Don’t dare put the second Bible in the hands of people who have not sat lovingly at the feet of the first Bible. They will invariably manipulate, mangle, and murder the written text.’... Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, The First Bible 

And now for those who are interested to read a bit more about Easter from a Christian perspective, we recommend the following links The Promise of Resurrection and Discovering the Presence of God in Nature

The Promise of Resurrection

'Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.' –Martin Luther

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy Easter,

Enjoy the beautiful and inspiring nature and springtime,

Until we meet again, we hope, soon,

Keep well,

Stay safe,

Love,

Kamran and Annie

Hopeing for the beautiful days that are yet to come. They will like the rays of sunshine sustain us

Sunrise Oxwich Bay, South Wales.- Photo: Anne Mofid

And now watch something so beautiful, so heavenly 

Heavenly Gardens with Alexander Armstrong

Photo: Radio Times

‘The six gardens, steeped in faith and spirituality, that Alexander Armstrong visits to mark Easter weekend may be closed to the public for the foreseeable future but at least we can enjoy their beauty and serenity at a screen’s distance. 

He is starting his journey at Pluscarden Abbey, a Catholic Benedictine monastery near Elgin in Scotland, where for centuries the grounds have instilled a sense of tranquillity and appreciation into visitors. The abbey is also well known for its vegetable plot, so Alexander helps pick apples and joins in with the singing of psalms. 

Meanwhile, Arit Anderson, who you’ll recognise as part of the Gardeners’ World team, is at Sudeley Castle in the Cotswolds. It’s the only private castle in England to have a queen buried within its grounds. 

There was no preview of the programme available at the time of writing, but if Heavenly Gardens is anywhere near as beguiling as Monty Don’s Paradise Gardens, it will provide some much-needed balm to our souls. 

A second programme goes out on Easter Sunday.

SUMMARY

The first of two programmes in which the presenter and garden designer Arit Anderson visit gardens of reflection and contemplation. At the remote Pluscarden Abbey in north-east Scotland, Alexander helps harvest luscious apples and accompanies the monks singing midday psalms. Meanwhile, Arit walks in the footsteps of royalty in the glorious grounds of Sudeley Castle. Plus, Alexander returns to his student haunts in Cambridge to discover a place designed to inspire joy, even on the bleakest days, in the university's Botanic Garden.’-Jane Rackham, Radio Times

Watch the Videos- Heavenly Gardens here

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