Saturday, April 5, 2014

Signs of Life...New Life

The article below, my reflections on spring and the resurrection, originally appeared as a guest column in the recent issue of the Baptist & Reflector. I appreciate them publishing it.

Although the first day of spring has officially arrived, it seems as if winter wants to keep its grip on us. Temperatures have remained unseasonably cold, and we even set a record low in Jackson last week. However, there are signs that spring really has arrived. The days are getting longer, trees are sprouting leaves, and flowers are beginning to bloom.

But for most of us, it can't come soon enough. We have grown tired of the cold, dreary days. For the last few months, when we looked outside our windows, all we saw were evidences of death. But thankfully, we are now beginning to see signs of life everywhere - even in the changing color palette of the seasons. The morbid grays and browns of winter are giving way to the vivid greens and reds and yellows of spring. And even though it happens every year, it never seems to get old. We can rejoice in the fact that the cold death of winter has been overcome by the new life of spring.

It's as if creation itself is acting out a cosmic parable of resurrection power, teaching us the promise of new life. No wonder Martin Luther once said, "Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring time." The created order gives us a yearly reminder of new life; it provides us with a visual illustration of our Lord's victory over death. Or, to put it in poetic form:
The fallen leaves
from autumn trees
descend to their earthly tomb;
yet limbs which shed
their leaves all dead
trust new life again will bloom.

'Cause little mounds
of lifeless browns
are only half the story;
for, lively green
will soon be seen
with spring all its glory.

'Tis all a sign
of truth divine,
revealed for our reflection;
as one life ends,
a new begins -
yes, death brings resurrection.
So as we make our way toward Good Friday and the agony of Calvary, let us be mindful that Easter Sunday is coming too. As we approach the cross, let us do so with the hope of the empty tomb. Let us do so with the hope of the resurrection. And let us do so with eyes open wide to the world around us, seeing signs of new life, which point ultimately to the One who said, "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25).