May 2 2011

Resurrection Sunday and Nature

I am guessing that you probably never thought to put Christ’s resurrection together with nature. Frankly, I didn’t either. The resurrection is a core part of a Christian’s beliefs and represents a great gift from our Creator. Our sins are forgiven because Christ died for our sins.

We had a wonderful Easter service on Resurrection Sunday, but during the service a week prior, we sang a song that got me thinking. It was a contemporary praise song based on “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and a lyric said that “Were the whole world of nature mine, that were a present far too small: love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”

Now that hit me wrong. Yes, Christ dying for our sins was a wonderful thing. But to then say that God’s other big gift, the creation of heaven and earth, is less important is mixing up things that I don’t think should be mixed up. We would not exist, nor would there have been a need for Christ to come, if we had not been part of God’s creation. God’s gift of the world of nature is an amazing gift, and not small by any standard. Anyway, giving God back his own present is a little weird.

Think about what an amazing gift our world is. We cannot live without it. So much of what we know is beautiful comes from it. The gift of forgiveness is so very important, but so is the gift of life, indeed the gift of all life. There is no reason to minimize either gift by comparing them at all.

Many years ago I was at my parents’s church and the pastor there gave a memorable Easter sermon. He talked about how Christ resurrection was like the spring (I know this is a common theme, but this pastor did this very well) — after the tough times of winter (this was back in Minnesota and we knew tough winter!), spring came, just like after the tough times of the Crucifixion, the Resurrection happened. Spring is a time of renewal, and you can see the Resurrection as representing renewal, too. I think connecting God’s gifts of Christ and nature in this way is a good way of giving thanks for both.

The flowers are California poppies shot about a week ago in Central California — an always exuberant expression of spring.

— Rob