At this time of year there is a chance that you’ll be able to gaze upon one of the most beautiful trees of the moment. The magnolia tree buds always offer me a tantalising glimpse of the startlingly brilliant beauty soon to come.
The winter hasn’t been terribly harsh for the garden this year; and it has passed with amazing speed and “suddenly” the days are lengthening and the sun feels warmer.
It seems beyond my imagination that our flowering trees have, despite the milder conditions, slept through much of the winter and now leap to life once again in such a gloriously triumphant way.
Each year’s flowering of the magnolia tree coincides with the season of Lent; which interestingly can be broken down to the acronym Let’s End Negative Thinking.
The magnolia tree seems to be a reminder that the road to the Easter weekend is going to be worth persevering with after all. There would certainly be dark days. It would need a great deal of self-discipline.
The colours would, for a long time, be muted and dull. But that in the same way that nature keeps on producing her miracles in defiance of the harshest seasonal challenges, so too, in the realm of God’s grace, the darkness of despair and the gloom of death would be overwhelmed by the blossoming of new life at Easter time.
The magnolia blooms for such a short time – a week or so if you’re lucky and it’s all over; and yet the sparklingly white blooms of the magnolia tree are a kind of anticipation of our celebrating the Day of Resurrection and of something more to come beyond the one moment.
Rev Mark Cheetham
Methodist Minister for Brighouse