It’s not that hard to imagine Spring making her arrival in a matter of weeks. Of course, mid-winter thaws always tease us into hope. But hope is a meaning-maker in our lives nonetheless. Thoreau said of these shoulders between seasons, “As every season seems best to us in its turn, so the coming in of spring is like the creation of Cosmos out of Chaos and the realization of the Golden Age.”
Spring, even as far off as ours is now, reminds us that the Golden Age is always possible. It is that impulse buried deep into the earth which rises in us as well. The philosopher Loyal Rue (isn’t that a great name?) posits that God isn’t necessary to live the spiritual life. Buried in each of us is the same impulse that rises to the Spring of Life. In fact, we are the Spring of Life, and in that way we have divine agency just as we are. This understanding of us as part of the divinity of nature herself is known by theologians as Religious Naturalism.
As Loyal Rue puts it, “Religious naturalists bear an attitude of reverence toward the universe as a whole, and toward the earth in particular – and they are disposed to expressing their reverence by affirming that nature is both sacred and mysterious. Naturalists are keenly aware of the contingency of all life forms, and when this awareness is taken to heart it generates a sense of gratitude toward nature.” (Religion is Not about God: How Spiritual Traditions Nurture our Biological Nature and What to Expect When They Fail)
While the Spring of Nature and Spring of Spirit in each of us is likely, it is not guaranteed. We have a responsibility to the earth and to ourselves to work towards the hope we sense is coming. Every morning on my walk along the shore, I give thanks for the earth and the spirit of life she has given me. And, when I remember, I give a silent prayer of promise to do all I can to hold nature and life in high regard and my earnest endeavors. Only then can I become Spring.
Yours Always, Rev. John