This is a guest post from my friend Anthony Kirk. I asked if I could share his reflection because I think it speaks to the season and the divine wisdom hidden in creation. It reminds me of Martin Luther’s quote about the mystery of Christ in nature: “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” Happy Easter, friends. Enjoy!
This morning when I woke up, I had one of my favorite Easter hymns in my head, “Now the Green Blade Rises.” I wish that I was singing it with folks at First Friends Meeting, but that is not possible. And although I cannot be with them, the words always hold true.
“Forth He came in triumph, like the risen grain. He that for three days in the grave had lain. Raised from the dead, my living Lord is seen. Love is come again like wheat arising green.”
But this year, love is come again in the form of a striped daffodil. On Holy Saturday, my incredible pastor and mentor Derek Parker came to pick flowers for his husband. We stood a safe distance apart and looked at all the daffodils at Lauramoore together. He saw one and said that he would not pick it. I asked why, and he said that it was unique. He pointed to it and called me to look at it. A beautiful, pale yellow and white striped daffodil. Derek and I hadn’t seen one like that before. It reminded me that there is so much beauty to life even amidst the grief on Holy Saturday.
And today, on this unusual Easter, this daffodil reminds me of our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He was crucified, in the tomb, and rose again. Jesus, to me, is like this daffodil. A daffodil withers away as Christ’s body did. The daffodil lays dormant in the ground for many months, just as Christ lay in the tomb for those heartbreaking three days. It is there and still alive, yet we cannot see it. Just as Christ arose and his body was no longer in the tomb, it is hard to believe that the daffodil will rise again. How can it be? We cannot see it. And Mary Magdalene and all the blessed women could not see Jesus’ body. How can this be?
And yet, our Savior Jesus rose again. He came to us, and the women were the first to see and believe. “Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me'” (Matthew 28:9-10). Just as I am with the daffodils. This year, it took Derek bringing them to my attention to really appreciate and believe they were there. He was Mary and all the other female disciples to me this year. Without him, I may have continued to forget that there is more than Holy Saturday.
So, too, is there resurrection. Resurrection of the delightful, perennial daffodils. Beautiful, strong, everlasting. And Jesus Christ, too, is perennial. We remembered him every day, especially on Easter Sunday. His sacrifice, love, and care for us is beautiful, strong, and everlasting. Even in the moments that we do not see him, just as we do not always see the daffodils, Jesus is still there. He is always is and always will be. Jesus never leaves our side. Even in our moments when we forget, grieve, are filled with doubt, Jesus is there. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people” (John 1:1-4).
In the final verse of “The Green Blade Rises,” we are reminded that “When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain, Your touch can call us back to life again. Field of our hearts that dead and bare hands have been, love is coming again like daffodils bringing forth Spring.”
Christ is Risen! Alleluia indeed!