CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter…
The serviceberry bush/tree is basically a northern plant, from Maine to Iowa. It has beautiful spring buds and bright red and orange leaves in the autumn. Its berries are important to plants and animals and can be used by humans to make jellies and jams.
Oh, and you can’t get married or baptized until it blooms.
If you lived in Maine or Iowa or in-between back in the day, when roads were dirt tracks, or mud tracks, or snow-covered tracks, you were shut-in from the rest of the world from November to May. But when the serviceberry began to bloom, it meant the minister could get through. Church services could be held again, not just Sunday morning gatherings, but baptisms for those born over the winter, and weddings for those who had started babies over the winter. It was a time of rejoicing.
The roads are better now. Folks have more money, so they can afford to pay a preacher to live in their midst all through the year. We don’t have to wait until the serviceberry blooms for baptisms or weddings or memorial services. [Although in the UP we often have to wait for the ground to thaw for burials.]
The snow is melting, though. Soon the serviceberry will poke its spring buds out. That means it is time to rejoice.
John Robert McFarland
The place of winter mentioned above is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where people are identified as Yoopers, and life is defined by winter, even in the summer.
I tweet occasionally as yooper1721.