Heart's ease - an infusion was said to help mend a broken heart

Monday, 20 February 2017

In praise of... snowdrops and faithful love

Today is the 75th anniversary of the day one of our sisters made her first vows, aged 23 in the middle of World War II. Any anniversary or jubilee is a cause for celebration, but when it's three-quarters of a century... well, from the lowlier vantage point of my twenty years, I can only look on with admiration and awe!

Any anniversary or jubilee of commitment is a cause for celebration, and for looking back, often with wonder and gratitude, at the enduring love and fidelity which have permeated the years. And as Amy's story shows, the gentle assurance of God's fidelity and love has been a constant, especially present the day she made her vows. Wartime austerity in rural Scotland meant the altar could only be decorated with flowers from the garden; wintry weather meant the garden was as bare and unadorned as the altar would be. And Amy resigned herself to this - flowers, after all, were not the essence of the commitment she was about to make, merely the icing on the day's cake. But unknown to her another novice had found a patch of snowdrops, which she had dug up and brought into the house, nurturing them in the linen cupboard so that they would flower in time for the vows ceremony. And so, to Amy's delighted surprise, there were flowers around the altar, their delicate loveliness speaking of God's love, shining through Elise's thoughtful kindness.

Elijah encountered God, not in earthquakes or fires, but in a gentle breeze: and Amy discovered proof of God's covenant love, not in the miraculous, unseasonal flowering of roses or gladioli, but in snowdrops - ordinary, tiny snowdrops, gathered with love. And that is how God's covenant is so often revealed - in ordinary, tiny tokens of loveliness and love; tokens so easily overlooked, except by hearts honed and able to see and appreciate them. And then, as Rumi once wrote, life becomes one in which every object, every being, is a jar full of delight...

There are still plenty of snowdrops flowering here in Oxford; and, I've been told, there's a patch of them in the garden of Duchesne House, where Amy lives - so I'm sure there will be snowdrops in the chapel! Seventy-five years on her memory remains undimmed; God, too, has clearly not forgotten his side of their covenant, and promise of everlasting fidelity...

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