There’s nothing like the first few days of Spring to remind you of life on the other side of Winter. It takes me back to the final days of University exams, when all of the intense study and stress gave way to the smell of freshly cut grass, the warmth of the sun, and the possibilities of the Summer ahead.

God has set us within his creation, which includes the seasons of the year. And some of the most powerful imagery we have in Scripture of God’s renewal is rooted in seasonal change. In Isaiah 35, for instance, God likens his saving presence to the glory of Spring in the desert: “Wilderness and desert will sing joyously, the badlands will celebrate and flower—Like the crocus in spring, bursting into blossom, a symphony of song and color.” The streets of Vancouver are planted in cherry blossom trees, and this Scripture reminds me of one week every year in Spring when the whole city would burst into silent song, a riot of white and pink. It was a moment of sudden awakening and it had a dramatic impact on us all. So, it’s fitting that our church is in full bloom this weekend. All of this Spring life is cause for celebration, and it’s also a call to prayer for God’s renewing life to flood the dry and waterless places—in our lives, in our church, and in our wider networks. At Deeper on Tuesday night we all got a taste of what that might look like!

So, what new life is springing up this weekend? One of the highlights is the Life Course Weekend in beautiful Flaxmill Bay in the Coromandel. Over the years this weekend has been a watershed moment for people as they tangibly experience the undeniable presence and power of God. We’re looking forward to the stories of encounter with God that come back!

Also, over the last three days, several of us have been taking part in our Diocesan Synod at Holy Trinity Cathedral for its annual parliamentary session. It brings together over 300 clergy and other representatives of the Anglican Church in Auckland to discuss and vote on key issues within our church. It’s a good opportunity for us to mingle with others within our network, but also to have a voice into the many strategic issues and opportunities that face our church. Our People’s Warden Louise Bridges boldly led the prayers and intercessions that happened alongside Synod for the whole three days. For me, Synod is an expression of the significant role St Paul’s has to play in the future as we pursue the church’s renewal in our city. That’s a vision that fills me with excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead.

And, as if all of that wasn’t enough, tonight back at the Cathedral, Chris and the St Paul’s Youth Band will be leading over 1,000 young people for a combined youth worship event, for the second year in a row. The event is focusing on the theme of faith in Jesus – both the challenge of sharing our faith with others and also growing in our own faith in Jesus. And so, as we contemplate and celebrate all of this Spring life, let’s be open to how God is breathing his renewing Spirit into each of us, especially in those parts of our lives where we need it most.

Rev Jonny Grant