As I walk about town (when the rain lets up!), it is a joy to see the tulips appear in the various gardens I pass after their long winter slumber. Béatrice and I planted some of the Canada 150 bulbs, and we are waiting impatiently for them to open.
These tulips have reminded me of some of the great Reformed emphases upon celebrating the providence of God. This world is not a product of chance nor coincidence but is a creation of the Sovereign God, intentionally good: ‘While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease’ (Genesis 8 :22). God is not just Creator but Sustainer, maintaining the changing seasons with such regularity as an gracious opportunity for humanity to grow in maturity of soul and society: ‘God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good alike and sends his rain on the just and the unjust’ (Matthew 5:45).
It is an opportunity that we often squander, even misuse, of course. In Tulipmania, Mike Dash tells the story how the marvellous flower that came to be known as the tulip was gradually carried from its native mountains in Central Asia to Persia and Turkey then to Europe, where in the years 1633-37, they became an obsession in the Netherlands and an investment. In 1637, one bulb alone was sold for the equilivant of $1.5 million. But then the speculative market collapsed, and many families were left destitute, and the national economy entered a depression. A gift and thing of beauty is commodified and exploited, to the ultimate harm of many – a story repeated over and over again in human history.
God’s greatest act of providence, I believe, is the provision of our healing and hope in Jesus Christ. If you are in the area this Sunday, join us in an hour of classic Christian worship. Have a look at the order of service – inside you will find the scripture texts for reflection and preparation. There is ample parking on the streets around the church, and in the public lot behind the church off Queen Street. During the service there is a nursery for infants and a programme for young children. You would be welcome!