John 3:3 – Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (RSV)
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 – From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation. (RSV)
Recently I returned home to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, from visiting my two children in British Columbia. While there, I was constantly thrilled by the beauty of the trees and shrubs seen at every turn in the road. I think it was the first time I had seen the laburnum trees in bloom, covered with glorious blossoms hanging like great clusters of yellow grapes. Then there were the ever-present rhododendrons, ranging in colour from white to shameless scarlet. Every home seemed to take pride in a show of arbutus, dogwood, rose, or some other colourful shrub. Never had the spring seemed so full of life and beauty. I was sure my home in Ontario was never like this!
I, however, was in for a surprise. As I drove again around my own city, I was amazed at how colourful the trees and shrubs here really are! Having had my eyes opened to beauty in another setting, I now saw more beauty in the world at home. I had never noticed how many trees here are covered in glorious blossom.
The experience reminded me of the words from "The Everlasting Mercy" by John Masefield, when he describes the effect of being born again in Christ.
- The station brook, to my new eyes,
Was babbling out of Paradise;
The waters rushing from the rain
Where singing Christ has risen again.
Prayer: We bless and thank You, Lord, for the beauty of the earth. We rejoice that You also open our eyes to the beauty of love and truth when, confessing our need, You make us new creatures in Christ. By Your Spirit, keep us always aware of the glory which surrounds us, as we walk daily in this, our Father's world. Amen.