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A FEBRUARY LETTER FROM THE RECTOR
in mid January, there's a growing crescendo of birdsong already in
the Rectory garden, particularly at the beginning and the ending of
the day, and no end of activity. Snowdrops are already in flower, and
the spears of other bulbs are pushing through. Apparently the natural
world knows that spring is on the way.
date February 14 this year holds a dual significance. As well as
being St. Valentine's Day, the day for celebrating lovers, and the
day when the birds traditionally are said to pair off, this year it's
also the date of Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent- which of
course is the Old English word for 'Spring.' So which ever way we
look at it, February brings a promise of renewal - and the first
tentative signs of that renewal are here already.
the same time, in rural folk lore, February can be a treacherous
month. 'February fill the dyke, be it black or be it white,' is a
proverb apparently warning that heavy downfalls are to be expected in
February, and are just as likely to be of snow as of rain. Either way
it's a challenge. So it's as well to be warned that we may still need
to protect the tender new shoots from floods and icy blasts before
winter is altogether over and done with.
the same way, in our own lives and in the lives of our communities we
need to nurture whatever signs of hope and promise there may be, and
protect them against the bitter winds of cynicism and indifference.
Cradley and Sorridge have a newly elected parish council, after a
period of confusion and uncertainty. At a personal level, many are
emerging from a winter which has brought with it varying degrees of
sickness, sadness or hardship. On all sides and in all things we need
to 'cleave to that which is good'; resist the temptation to dwell on
past hurts and disappointments, and live for 'whatsoever things are
true, whatsoever things are honest... whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report'.
'Think on these things', says Philippians, chapter 4, 'and the God of
peace shall be with you.' Not a bad passage to take into February,
into Lent, and into Spring!