With spring come Easter and the times of new birth and the excitement of life. We have the pheasants in the garden stocking up on scattered seed from the kitchen door for the chicks that are born around the corner. Bunnies from last year are now huge and will soon provide bunnies of their own, while the trees are now blossoming in the garden.
We have one tree which last year we were afraid had died, such was the lack of any visible growth. Its bark was cracked and the earth looked drier than it should. But we resolved to care for it better and turned the soil with food and added a healthy proportion of new soil.
In fact, we absolutely jammed it with all sorts of stuff that might be considered overdosing. Imagine wading through a desert for several months with no food or water then finding someone throws you into a five-star spa and crams you with caviar. In many cases the individual might not survive the trauma … … but this tree did. It not only survived but bloomed better than it had ever done and provided the biggest crop of fruit in its several years.
The nurture we give familiar things can wane over time if we aren't careful. This tree wasn't neglected, it just didn't receive the right sort of attention, partly because we weren't sure what to do. But with the appropriate knowledge and care it flourished.
Our Annual Parochial Church Meeting looms at the end of the month and is a time for the Parochial Church Council to go through its various changes. This means new ideas and fresh starts alongside the usual projects and longstanding commitments.
Over the past few years there has been tremendous growth in unexpected places and this has given us a brilliant atmosphere in our church community; a visible love and sharing of peace from people who regard their gathering together as that of a family. We have new groups and ideas for new things to provide community and places of belonging.
Someone who lives in the UK but visits frequently describes Kirk Braddan as their second home, because it provides a space where people can be who they are and discover more about them and their neighbour.
The coming months will have opportunities to try new things and explore further what God wants for this place, and this is an exciting time as we discern how the kingdom can keep bursting with life in this place, again and again. There will be mistakes made, as there always are, and risks taken – as with jamming the tree full of food in the belief it will provide life. But unless we approach our gathering place of church with a belief that great things can happen, we will only ever look at it from afar and be hesitant at what to do or where to be involved.
There have been so many new people who have invested time and energy alongside those for whom this church has been a mainstay, that the two are growing, learning, living and worshipping together in the way only God's kingdom provides. People's gifts and talents are being brought to bear and this can only get better as more get involved.
So come along, try it. And if there isn't something happening that you think should or could be done, and you can be part of that, let's keep the whole thing bursting into life, again, and again, and again.