Late winter is the season to prune fruit trees, before the sap rises and buds swell green and blossoms unfurl. A warm, sunny day makes the work pleasant. A calm day makes the work safe. My husband was pruning in the top of standard-size apple trees with a tall ladder and a sharp saw, so I was happy for the unusual lack of wind.
I took advantage of the spring-like weather, too, and walked to the windbreak with my camera strapped around my neck and my down coat unzipped. What I heard that day was more remarkable than what I saw–a train.
Because of the nearly constant noise of traffic on the road and the ever-present wind, I have only heard a train a handful of times in the twenty-some years we have lived on this farm. The closest railroad line is ten miles away, but the faint rumbling on the metal tracks and occasional sounding of the horn came from a train rattling through a small town nearly fifteen miles to the north.
What whispers from God will we hear in the calm places and quiet times? Will we be like Elijah who heard the “still, small voice” after the wind, earthquake, and fire passed by?
“Be still, and know that I am God;” Psalm 46:10 NIV
As I reread this week the Gospel stories of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, I noticed that the day before the Sabbath was called the Day of Preparation. In the Old Testament there was a great deal of planning and preparation that had to be made ahead of time in order to properly observe the Sabbath. That Saturday while Jesus lay in the tomb must have been a sombre time for the disciples, a time of reflection. Perhaps it helped them prepare to hear the Good News of the resurrection on Sunday morning.
Do we prepare ourselves for the Easter shouts of “He is risen!” by listening and waiting the days prior to Resurrection Sunday?
Do we need to prune away some of the busyness and noise in our lives to reap a better harvest later?
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; Psalm 37:7 NIV
He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Flowers, crown of thorns, cross/window photos by Barb Briggs