THERE is something iridescent about snowdrops on a grey day - they just seem to glow against the dullness. It feels like a little slither of defiance against the

drab February light; it’s pure whiteness never fading into obscurity because of the lack of sunlight. On a bright summer's day they might not have the impact - make the same difference. In the Merchant of Venice (act 5: scene 1) Portia refers to a candle throwing its beam, "So shines a good deed in a naughty world" and her friend makes the same point that the candle seemed nothing when the moon was out but glows when it is the only light on the scene.

From time to time I visit a religious house to reflect for 24 hours. This house is based amid some of the country’s poorest communities. As we pray for the sick,

bereaved, those oppressed by poverty and discrimination we pray; "for those who today will make a difference by their compassion or their decisions."

There is a legend about the snowdrop that when Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden of Eden, Eve was in despair that winter would ever end. An angel having compassion on her transformed some of the snowflakes into snowdrop flowers showing her that spring would come and snowdrops became a sign of hope. When we are tempted to despair the snowdrop may remind us that the smallest deed can make a difference. When they push up together through the hedgerow the dull grey world is transformed.

The Rev Beverley Lock, Team Rector, Loughrigg Team Ministry