‘The spring of souls’

The first signs of spring prompt the author to think about what "new seed" God wants to plant in us. Photo: Mitchell Griest/Unsplash
Published March 21, 2018

I just caught the first whiff of spring thaw and mud and it was very good!

The first signs of spring come as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, one of the great hymns of Easter describes this glorious festival as “the spring of souls.” I love that imagery, and it prompts me to think of my soul and yours, the soul of our church and the soul of our society.

As I think of our own souls, I am reminded through the stories of the evangelists that we serve a living Lord who wills that we enjoy the freshness and fullness and “foreverness” of life with him.  Amazed at all the wondrous ways in which his grace is at work in our lives, I wonder, too, what new thing he would want to accomplish in and through us? What is the new seed he might want to plant in us? What kind of soil might we need to be if that seed is to take root and shoot, bud and blossom? What is the springtime he wills for my life and yours?

As I think of the soul of our church, I see how the risen Lord is awakening us to new ways of carrying out the ministry entrusted to us. I marvel at how he moves men and women to a deep yearning for living out their baptismal vows so that both they and others know that their faith and the works that accompany them are making a real difference in their community.

I marvel, too, at how the Lord continues to draw Indigenous and non-Indigenous Anglicans together to nurture the emerging of a truly Indigenous church.

As plans unique to different areas of the country are seeded, we look with great anticipation for the signs of their rooting and shooting, budding and blossoming. It feels for many of us like a springtime for our entire church.

As I think of the soul of our society, I am mindful of the historic trauma borne by the First Peoples of this great land and of the ways in which systemic and embedded racism continues to reveal itself in our times. I wonder then, if we might view the Calls to Action from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as being like huge bags of seed, holding the promise of a fair country with a better life for its First Peoples? Can we see our work as scattering TRC seed and tending it with diligence as we await the first shoots of something that has finally taken a good deep root? Can we bear those who sing:

Let the seed of freedom
awake and flourish,
let the deep roots nourish,
let the tall stalks rise.
O healing river,
send down your waters,
O healing river,
from out of the skies.

(“O Healing River,” Hymn 578, Common Praise; Text by Fred Hellerman and Fran Minkoff. Copyright 1964, Appleseed Music. Permission sought.)  

Could it be that we might be in for a Canadian springtime such as we have never seen before?

I just got a few more wonderful whiffs of spring. Have you?


  • Fred Hiltz

    Archbishop Fred Hiltz was primate of the Anglican Church of Canada from 2007 to 2019.

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