Easter in a garden
Bishop Christopher says: "I wasnâ€™t expecting them this year. We have had such a hard winter and it is still with us at Easter. They donâ€™t come up every year in any case.
"But in spite of the bitter weather there was a surprise. In a dark corner of the garden, under large trees in thin grass, the snakeâ€™s-head fritillary was peeping up its nodding head, not yet quite open but already with a blush of purple-red.
"Its popular name â€˜snakeâ€™s-headâ€™ comes from the shape of the bud. It comes as a surprise because it doesnâ€™t appear every year. It reminds me of the sign of healing which Moses took, a carved snake in the form of a cross to protect from a plague of serpents, like an antidote, and still to this day a sign of the medical profession.
"It was a sign Jesus also alluded to before his crucifixion, just as Moses raised the snake-sign in the wilderness, so Jesus is also â€˜raised upâ€™ on the Cross for the healing of the world.
"And my Fritillaria meleagris (to give it its posh botanical name) reminds me of the surprise God that gives new life in the darkest and coldest of places. The darkest and coldest parts of our lives. Easter is in a garden. Easter is within us."