Apr 20 2014

The Promise of Resurrection

“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” –Martin Luther

_DSC3338I love Easter.  To me there is no more glorious day of the year.  Even more, I love the message of Easter.   It is good news—incredibly good news—every single day of the year.  I am thankful for Easter’s message that death does not have the final word.  That is important to me.  I am also thankful for Easter’s message that as the risen Lord Christ is able to be with me at all times and in all places.  That, too, is important to me.  There is yet another message of Easter that I love and treasure.  That is God’s ability to bring good out of the worst of situations.  I am convinced that this is God’s specialty.   What an amazing God it is who can take what happened on Good Friday and turn it into the most wonderful thing that has ever occurred!  God took what certainly looked like a great defeat to the world and made it become a victory like no other.  And the good news is God continues to do the same kind of thing in the lives of people like you and mine.

_DSC3334 flippwsTime and time again I have seen God take bad situations in my life or that of others and use those bad situations to bring good from them.  I’ve seen God do that when people have lost loved ones, when their marriages failed, when they lost jobs, when they sought to end their lives, when injuries were sustained, and when all hope was lost.  Easter reminds us that there is nothing that God cannot use to bring about good, if only we let Him and give Him time to do so. Countless times it has been my faith in God’s ability to do this which has enabled me to hang on.  It has been the hope I have encouraged others to hold on to on many an occasion.

_DSC1403What this hope is, of course, is nothing less than “the promise of resurrection.”  God’s resurrection power was not available to only Jesus.  The Bible makes it clear that this power is the possession of all of God’s children. (Philippians 3:10)  We just need to be reminded of this from time to time.  So perhaps that’s what spring is all about.  As Martin Luther indicated, “in every leaf in springtime” we find a reminder of the promise of resurrection.  I thought about that this morning when I drove into the church parking lot.  Earlier this winter I had photographed a dogwood bud encased in ice right next to our parking lot.  This morning that bud was a beautiful flower.  It had not only survived the cold dark winter, it was thriving.  It was alive.

On this Easter Sunday I encourage you to rejoice in and give thanks for the glorious resurrection of Christ our Lord.  I also ask you to keep in mind that the good news of Jesus’ resurrection is not ancient history.  It is as fresh as the blossoms you see around you today.


(I took the top two images this morning and the bottom one from the same tree in February.)

Mar 15 2010

Dogwood and Spring

CA-Yosemite-13aSpring is one of my favorite times of year. It is one reason why we moved from Minnesota to Southern California. Spring in Minnesota would really get going about the beginning of May (though there were signs of spring earlier) and be over by June. In California, we have the same sort of spring where plants really get going at the end of January and this continues to about June.

Dogwood is a great part of spring in many parts of the country. This image is of a Western dogwood shot in Yosemite National Park. Spring is going full-bore when the dogwood appear.

Dogwood has some interesting legends about it related to Christ. Dogwood often has four “petals” arranged like a cross. The inside of the flower structure is said to be like a crown of thorns. And some dogwood have small, brown spots toward the center of the petals that remind people of the nail holes of the crucifixion.

One of my favorite sermons was done by a pastor at my parents’ church years ago back in Minnesota. Unfortunately, I do not remember his name. He talked about spring and the crucifixion. He talked about how spring represented a resurgence of life after the “death” of winter (and in Minnesota, that is a pretty powerful image!). He compared this to Christ’s death and resurrection — that Christ died, yet came alive after death so that our lives could be free and full of life. Spring and Easter then represented a wonderful time of rebirth and life after a very difficult time before that.

Sometimes life is not cooperative. Life just “happens” to all of us. We don’t understand everything that is going on, any more than Job did when he complained about his lot to God. Yet, difficult times can be like the winter. We have to trust that spring will come, just like we trust in Christ’s death and resurrection as an expression of God’s love for us. I don’t see winter as a terrible time, but simply a time that has to occur based on how the world is put together, but spring always comes after it. That is an expression of God’s love, too.