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Give Us Pleasure in the Flowers Today

Rick Olivier took photos of people in Acadiana in 1973.

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;

And give us not to think so far away

As the uncertain harvest; keep us here

All simply in the springing of the year.

Robert Frost’s “A Prayer in Spring” is about loving the present moment and its joys, all the while knowing that change will come. Here is the whole poem.

This fifth week of Lent we pray that “our hearts may surely be fixed where true joys are to be found.” In Sunday’s gospel reading from John, Mary graciously and generously pours out her love for Jesus when she anoints his feet with precious perfume and wipes them with her hair. Jesus affirms the rightness of what others see as wasteful. She has understood, he says, “you do not always have me.” His teaching—and hers—is all about loving God’s gifts and God’s people as they are now, while they are present. There is true joy. Soon, everything will change.

If you would like to read a moving story about extravagant love, here is one in the story of “Magnificent Miles” from Humans of New York at the World Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi.

The azaleas have mostly come and gone already this year. I hope you were able to find joy in their springing moment. Here is a photo essay from The Bitter Southerner about posing for pictures in front of the South’s favorite shrub. Perhaps they will inspire memories of your own loved ones in similar springtime photos. Be sure to click and listen to The Duke and Louis Armstrong on “Azalea” as you scroll.

Miss Aline would always say, ‘They’re pretty for such a short time then

they’re gone, like happiness in life.’ Then she would smile and remind me,

‘But the flowers come back every year.’

A while back I quoted in a sermon a “found” poem by one of my favorite young artists, Austin Kleon. It’s called “Overheard on the Titanic,” and you can see a copy of it here, where you can also click and learn more about his inspiring new book Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad. “I mean, yes, we’re sinking…but the music is exceptional”—sometimes the church in the present world feels like this. And yet, we love it, even as it changes within a changing world. Here is a thoughtful piece by a young “church leader” who doesn’t really go to church—also about loving people and things as they are in the present, and as they are changing.

For this is love and nothing else is love,

The which it is reserved for God above

To sanctify to what far ends He will,

But which it only needs that we fulfill.




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