Fiddleheads and Grace

Fiddleheads, a Maine delicacy

Eating “Fiddleheads” is a Maine culinary experience which dates back to early Native American days. A “Fiddlehead” is a curled fern frond which can be found for a brief time in the Spring before it unfurls to become a mature fern leaf. Time changes “Fiddleheads” to ferns.

Oddly enough, this picture takes me back to Freshman College English!! (And that was not yesterday!!) We discussed “Fern Hill”, a poem by Dylan Thomas, in which he personifies Time, speaks of the innocence of youth (“lamb white days”), and laments the eventual changes that Time brings to him and to his childhood farm, “Fern Hill”.

He longed for those carefree days of childhood: ” Time let me hail and climb Golden in the heydays of his eyes,”/… “In the sun that is young once only, Time let me play and be Golden in the mercy of his means,”/…“Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long, In the sun born over and over,I ran my heedless ways …”

His early years were like the Garden of Eden to Thomas: “Shining, it was Adam and maiden…” Not all of us can personally relate to such a burden free childhood filled with natural beauty, fun, family, friends, and playful frolic. Although we may not lay claim to an idyllic youth, we still sense loss as we take on the heaviness of adulthood. We “… wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.”

Like a Pied Piper, Time briefly plays the songs of youth and then leads us out of the garden of innocence. “Before the children green and golden Follow him out of grace…” Thomas likens our progress through adolescence to mankind’s fall from grace in Eden. When man chose the knowledge of evil over a state of goodness, spiritual danger and suffering entered Eden. Mankind became troubled and challenged with moral issues and with decisions about ways to conduct one’s life—with either integrity or duplicity, selfishness or generosity, aimlessness or purpose, with God in the mix or not. At some point our thinking and behavior require accountability, and willful moral errors bring consequences.

Youth doesn’t last forever. Time unmercifully forces us forward into culpability. The good news is that, although we outlive Time’s grace, we cannot outlive God’s incomparable grace, His free and unmerited favor, His mercy, forgiveness, and presence. Restoration to God through Christ’s redemptive work is available at any point we are willing to accept the offer, and our moral slate is wiped clean forever. We can confidently live with the knowledge and promise that “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1).

Time demands change. It may not be gracious to either ”Fiddleheads” or to us. But God loves, pursues, and benefits all who follow Him. He is a gracious God who moves us from loss to eternal hope.

Meet Chris Mace

Christopher Mace graduated from Bowdoin College and Tufts University School of Medicine.  Served as a Navy Doctor in Vietnam and has practiced medicine in Downeast Maine since 1970.  He is now an Elder at United Baptist Church in Ellsworth Maine.  Chris is the author of two books, Listening to God and Dancing with God.  You can read more from Chris here:  He is married and has four children and three grand children. 

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