Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.
This marvelous old hymn has been beloved by the Church throughout the ages- at least since the 17th Century when an unknown author penned it. Jesus is Fairer reminds us of the promise of spring and renewal, and that the grip of sin and death has been broken at the Cross. The love of Jesus is fairer, the love of Jesus is purer, and it does makes the woeful heart to sing!
Every year millions of people flock to D.C. to see the Cherry Blossoms, or so it seems to those of us caught up in the traffic around the Tidal Basin. One might lament the congestion but no one can deny the magnificence of the trees ‘robed in the blooming garb of spring’. On a somewhat (!) lesser scale, the trees on the RCE Campus in Arad are also ‘robed in the blooming garb of spring’. Children from the Darius Houses walk across the campus to Sunshine School, and play in the afternoon under the blossoms of the apple, cherry, and apricot trees. (In the fall they will enjoy the fruit!)
These precious children understand what ‘woeful’ means. They have been battered, abused, neglected and abandoned by the very ones God meant to love and care for them. The cruel injustice they have suffered has left terrible scars. But God’s love heals broken-hearts. It lifts burdens from the heavy-laden. “Let the children come to me,” Jesus said. And that is what God’s people at RCE are doing. They are bringing these ‘woeful’ hearts to Jesus for comfort and for the healing.
One of these woeful hearts is Marian, a six year old boy who was abandoned, but now rescued by RCE and lives in Darius House. He can’t wait to have a family one day. By God’s grace, He will come to America in a few short weeks to share his story alongside two of his Sunshine School teachers at our Spring 5K + Fun Run Event on Saturday, May 4th. He would love to meet you.
Easter comes two weeks later in Romania, (per the Orthodox calendar) and everyone on the RCE Campus is busy getting ready. The teachers are telling the story of Jesus love that led him to the Cross. The kids will hear this truth again in story and song at the Chapel, and at home in Darius House and Amy’s House. There will be special cakes (it is Romania) and treats and beautiful clothes for Easter Sunday morning. God’s Spirit transcends language and even the non-verbal children, and those with limited cognitive abilities, can and do feel God’s love and tender mercies.
Jesus makes the ‘woeful’ heart to sing. Thanks be to God!