Last year, a friend gave me a few daffodils to plant and enjoy. I was so excited! They looked like stars sprouting out of the earth.
Within a few short weeks, the flowers disappeared. But now they are back, and almost ready to bud.
The growth, dormancy, and regrowth of these beautiful plants remind me of three key aspects of the Christian faith:
The Foundation: Christ’s Resurrection
Christianity is built on the belief that Jesus of Nazareth died on a cross and then rose from the dead. This is what we base our hope on, and what we celebrate every Easter.
Jesus’s resurrection is different from all others reported in the Bible in that it is the only one performed by God with no human mediator. In this way, it establishes Jesus’s identity as the Christ (a.k.a. Messiah, or “anointed one”) sent by God to bring peace and justice for His oppressed people.
Jesus’s resurrection is also part of God’s plan of salvation for humankind. Just as Christ’s death brought about forgiveness of sin, His resurrection offers us hope for victory over evil and an eternal relationship with God. It demonstrates God’s power over evil and suffering. It is also a promise that one day evil, suffering, and death will end.
The Lifestyle: Spiritual Growth
Death and rebirth are also images of our growth as Christians. When we decide to follow Christ, we commit to a new way of life – new priorities and a new worldview. This transformation can seem sudden and dramatic, or quiet but powerful.
We also continue to grow throughout our lives. Like daffodils, we will “die” many times as we grow closer to God and learn to live lives of love and trust in Him. This doesn’t mean that we go back to square one or that we lose our forgiveness, salvation, or place in God’s kingdom. But we will lose anything that keeps us from becoming like Christ.
This can be painful. But God is there with us. And just as daffodils multiply with each new growth, so our growth in Christ produces beautiful results.
The Hope: Our Resurrection
One of the results of Christ’s resurrection is that death no longer has final say. When Christ returns, everyone who has died will also be resurrected. In the words of the poet John Donne, “Death, thou shalt die.”
We aren’t talking about ghosts or zombies. We’re talking about a full return to life in a real, though dramatically different, body.
We are talking about no more decay, illness, or pain. We are talking about the renewal of the created world that for now has been, in St. Paul’s words, “subjected to frustration…in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:20-21, NIV)
We are talking about a new world order of health, beauty, and harmony. A world where God dwells among us.
We’re talking about stars sprouting from the ground.
How do you see God in the natural world?