We’re entering one of my favorite times of year here in Marshville, North Carolina. The fields that surround our community are beginning to turn the most amazing shade of green, as the winter crop of some unknown-to-me grain erupts into vibrant life. Only in pictures of Ireland have I seen a landscape so richly carpeted in emerald hues. This greening is to me both hope-full and grace-full: full of hope because it signals the sure approach of spring (and all the color and warmth that come with it)…and full of grace because it comes as a gift. Although I know that some farmer worked hard and invested much to produce this verdant growth, the sight strikes my heart as a sure testimony to God’s bountiful and unmerited favor.
This year, the greening around Marshville coincided with a journey that my family and I made to visit with the church family at Calvary Baptist in Mount Airy, North Carolina. We were there to meet with individuals and groups within the congregation and to preach in view of a call at the Sunday morning worship gatherings. And for me this experience, too, was both hope-full and grace-full: full of hope because it allowed me to anticipate the fruitful ministry that I believe we can share as we begin growing together…and full of grace because it, too, was a gift. God has been so good to open the door that has connected me with this church family; and even though we’ve only begun to get to know one another, I’ve been richly blessed.
Jesus once spoke about fields “white for harvest” (John 4:35). But before the growth and harvest come, there is a greening—a joyful beginning to announce a new season. Thanks be to God for all our new beginnings, and for the hope and grace that allow us to see them through.