Readings:

Exodus 14:10-31, 15:20-21

Psalm 114

Romans 6:3-11

Luke 12:1-24

Reflection:  The First Fruits of Resurrection

When the women came upon Jesus’ tomb, they were prepared to find a dead body, carrying with them spices to treat the decaying corpse.  But when they didn’t find Jesus’ body there, they were reminded that Jesus had told them he would die and later be resurrected.  We can also hear tales of resurrection, but when we see death, be easily overcome by it.  We mourn, sob, lament.  They had been mourning for 3 days and assumed they would continue to do so.  But upon realizing Jesus had been raised from death into life, the women turned quickly to rejoicing and proclaiming this good news.

Like those women, we lamented on Good Friday the many ways we have actively and passively taken part in the degradation of the earth and its peoples.  We cried tears, sat in the muck and mire of devastating facts, and lifted up our voices to God and Christ for mercy.  We can find ourselves wallowing in those facts and find change an impossibility as we prepare spices for the earth’s dead body.

However, like the women, we are called to heed the reminder that creation renews itself.  We pave over the earth, but flowers still push through its cracks.  Without any work on our part, trees bloom every Spring.  God’s grace continues to flow through creation.  Creation speaks back to us, keeps us in our place.  The restorative power of God brings new, unexpected life to even the most parched patch of earth.  Upon experiencing this good news of God’s renewing grace, we must turn from mourning toward proclamation and participation in new life.

That we even recognize signs of new life is because they contrast with the persistent brokenness all around us.  Jesus’ new life is simply the first fruits of resurrection, of the new kingdom that God is bringing to fruition in the world.  Paul wrote to the Romans, “Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”  As witnesses to Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are to continually understand and die to our ways of destruction, so that we may walk in ways that lead to new life.

We ought never forget that seeds of God’s creative power have been placed within us for that new life.  And we are called to exercise our creative power in the world.  This does not mean we have the power to enact every wish we have for the world, but that God works in those seeds inside of us.  We may be just one little seed, but we hold hope in our God that we have fallen on good ground, that rain will come, and we will blossom into new life in the world.

And God wants every part of us.  Our whole selves – body, mind, and spirit – have been planted in creation.  And so our work should take root in creation.  God wants all of us – for the sake of the restoration of all creation.

Practices:

Celebrate signs of new life around you by eating a meal outdoors or singing joyful songs about creation like the “Johnny Appleseed” grace or “Hymn of Promise.”

Consider how you might nurture the seeds placed in your care for the good of creation, or how you might give yourself more fully to the flourishing of all creation.

Prayer:  Hymn of Promise

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

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