Friday, May 1, 2009

rising to newness of life

As we drove to St. Louis last week, we couldn’t help but notice all of the redbuds and dogwoods beginning to bud and flower, peeking out from behind all of the big, dead-looking trees around them. Spring is such a wonderful time of year, with so many great object lessons that can teach us about death and resurrection every year.

If only we have eyes to see, and hearts to believe.

The story goes that the redbud blooms before the dogwood, because Jesus first had to die and shed his red blood for the sins of the world. Three days later, after Christ was crucified on a tree, He burst forth from the tomb and rose from the dead to give new life to all who believe. Just as the redbud blooms first before the dogwood, Good Friday comes before Easter Sunday, death comes before Resurrection, the cross comes before the crown.

Well, it turns out that the redbuds and dogwoods were just a preview of the glory to come for us that day. Later that day we were blessed to tour the Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, and it was just like being in heaven on earth. I can’t begin to describe to you the plethora of flowers, trees, bushes, and plants we saw on that beautiful day.
(If you haven’t been there before, you need to go.)

God gives us such beauty and pleasure as a little preview of coming attractions, as a foretaste of the feast to come. For just as Jesus rose from the dead that first Easter morning, we too will rise and walk in newness of life, enjoying the wonders of God’s new creation together for all eternity.

But in the meantime ... we have work to do. We are to be God’s Easter People – those called by Him to bring faith, hope, peace, joy, love, and forgiveness to all those around us – our family, our friends, our neighbors, and yes, even our enemies.

Emily Dickenson once wrote that “Love is the person of the resurrection, who scoops up the dust and chants, “Live!”.

That’s who we are. We're God’s Easter people. We are redeemed, renewed, and restored in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, so that we might help others repent and return to the Lord as well.

May our Living Lord give us new life to be His Easter People today.

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