I was online over the weekend doing some shopping for a new needlepoint project. I have finally gotten to the point where my broken wrist has healed enough for me to get back to this hobby that is both contemplative and restorative for me (hooray!), and I thought I would treat myself to a fresh canvas.
There are lots and lots and lots of options to be found by typing “needlepoint” into a search engine. Even when I added words to narrow the field, the possibilities were overwhelming. I was having trouble finding something that inspired me, until finally I came upon a rendering of this proverb: “Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.”
This phrase is not scriptural. Further internet searches tell me that it is a Chinese proverb. Still, I think I was drawn to it because it pulls me into thinking theologically—especially during this season of Lent. Lent is a time when we consider all the aspects of our lives that hinder growth in our relationship with God. It is also a time when our practices are meant to make us more open, move receptive, more alive to God’s presence within us and among us.
My prayer for all of us is that we find ways to tend and nurture our understanding of that presence; that our awareness of God in Christ grows, green and fertile, throughout these forty days, and that our hearts continue to branch out in welcome to the spiritual equivalent of the singing bird: resurrection joy in all its many forms.