28 March 2010
I am again in a part of the world where Spring flourishes. Though today’s weather is chilly and grey, the flowers have been bursting forth for weeks now. The crocuses and snowdrops are already being replaced by daffodils and columbine. The forsythia glows along the sides of the road and the edges of fields and yards. A few blooming trees have burst in the unseasonable warmth, but most just sit, prepared, a sheen of color over their branches, ready to bloom forth from long Winter slumber with the coming of Easter next week.
This morning the words of an old hymn flow from my lips: “Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature, O Thou of God and man the Son.” The hymn goes on to compare all nature to its Ruler. Te meadows, woodlands, blooms of Spring, sunshine, stars, and moonlight pale in comparison to the Son of God and Son of Man. This year, even the season seems to be in submission to Him. As though the resurrection of Spring desires to reflect the First Resurrection.
And resurrection is coming. But today I enter a week of reflection on His passion. More words blend with the music in my soul: “Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?” Then we sing out His name: “Jesus, Messiah. Name above all names. Blessed Redeemer, Emmanuel. The rescue for sinners, the ransom from heaven, Jesus Messiah, Lord of all.” Before we celebrate the resurrection, we must face the reality of death. Rescue. Ransom.
Yesterday I cleared away the dead leaves and branches from around the green shoots and bursting blooms of daffodils. The leaves died last Autumn, and fell to the ground, turning brown. As I cleared the dry, dead leaves from the top, I found those underneath had begun to disintegrate, the papery brown giving way to become rich, dark soil. From the black soil, new life was coming forth. Their death led to new life.
The leaves paid a cost. They lost their glossy greenness, flaming out into red and yellow, then fading to brown. They lost their shape and structure, the membrane between the veins disintegrating into dirt. They died and their death paid a ransom that equipped new life. Nature once again following the pattern its Ruler set.
The Ruler arose, though. His real death, His rescue, His ransom, did not end His life. Resurrection. The blooming trees which lost their leaves last Autumn are perhaps a better analogy. They sacrificed their crown, their beauty, the bright green of high Summer, paying a price for new life to come forth. But now they await resurrection, to burst into greater beauty than they lost.
As I enter my reflection of Christ’s sacrifice, I look forward to Resurrection. Not only His, but also those for whom His sacrifice paid ransom. Their bodies lie still beneath the earth. Beauty covered by dead leaves. But from the dirt they will arise. Their former bodies having served to bring forth good things from the soil, they willl arise with a new crown of beauty.
I think of Keren’s grin, Aimee’s smiling eyes, Peter’s dad’s hands. We keep the old body in our memories, but we shall not see it again. As the glossy green leaves of Summer cannot compare to the flowering beauty of Spring blossoms, so those old bodies will fade in relation to the resurrected ones. I miss what I knew. I cannot imagine what resurrection will bring.
As Spring bursts forth from the ground in yellow, pink, purple, blue, and green, as the sheen of color replaces the icy white of winter’s blast and the dead brown of its end, I consider what the ransom of Christ’s death paid for: the resurrection of His own.