I am likely going to disappoint you all today – because I’m struggling to articulate much of anything this morning.
I’m not feeling witty (although when I am these days, I am grateful – thanks to Victoria Weinstein for highlighting that as a gift of grace).
I’m not feeling moved deeply (although I can see this hymn’s potential for deep meaning).
I’m not feeling inspired to talk about the tune, for good or ill (although someday there will be a consideration of tunes like this from a cultural and musical viewpoint).
The truth is, I’m not feeling much of anything today except a bit overwhelmed by the personal, professional, and prophetic To Do Lists. And so this hymn, which I sang, felt a bit like a chore that I had to get done, not a balm to my spirit or an offering to others.
And here’s another truth, for the laity in my tiny readership: whether it’s a daily post like this, or a service, or a covenant group, or a rite of passage, sometimes ministers feel overwhelmed and unable to get their spirits to properly rise to the occasion. The good news is that it passes; we learn – and are reminded of – those practices that get us out of the funk, off the dime, on task, back into it. We learn how to fake it ’til we make it. We learn how to put on the character of minister until we are the minister again.
In the meantime, we clergy ask for some grace – we are human, as hard as we try not to be. And on a disappointing day like today, when I have no witty repartee, no caustic criticism, no soaring poetry, I ask for some grace.
Maybe that’s the point of this hymn, after all.
Almond trees, renewed in bloom, do they not proclaim
life returning year by year, love that will remain?
Almond blossom, sign of life in the face of pain,
raises hope in people’s hearts: spring has come again.
War destroys a thousandfold, hatred scars the earth,
but the day when almonds bloom is a time of birth.
Friends, give thanks for almond blooms swaying in the wind:
token that the gift of life triumphs in the end.