2 January: Old and New Year III

new grapes

Passing away, saith my God, passing away:
Winter passeth after the long delay:
New grapes on the vine, new figs on the tender spray,
Turtle calleth turtle in Heaven’s May.
Though I tarry wait for Me, trust Me, watch and pray:
Arise, come away, night is past and lo it is day,
My love, My sister, My spouse, thou shalt hear Me say.
Then I answered: Yea.
Christina Rossetti

There’s a scream somewhere behind these lines! ‘Passing away, passing away’, melancholy words for the start of a new year. Turtle doves seem to have been replaced by collared doves in England. My brother did not appreciate their calling outside his bedroom window in the early hours of Earth’s May. Perhaps heavenly ones are more considerate; but I have more than once been glad to hear the first blackbird, robin or collared dove greeting the dawn by my window, and so to sleep.

So is Christina Rossetti indulging in melancholy? She certainly looks forward to Jesus calling her to himself: My love, My sister, My spouse. But there is also a command for this life, however long it may continue: trust Me, watch and pray. Watching can mean those times of personal prayer, but also just watching, observing and doing something to improve what we see, from picking litter to greeting people.

Watch and pray, every day.


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