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April Is Here - April 2019

“So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:42).

April is here, winter is behind us, and spring weather is beckoning us to come out and play. I am itching to be outside and work in my garden, especially on a bright and sunny day like today. The spring season brings with it a bursting forth of new life as plants waken from their winter slumber. They emerge once again from a death-like state of being, putting forth green shoots and leaves, as well as beautiful flowers. All of this is wonderful to behold each year. It never ceases to amaze me and bring a smile to my face.

There are many connections from the natural world that can be made to Christ’s resurrection victory over death and flowing from Christ himself to those who trust in him. This is what Paul the apostle writes about in his great resurrection chapter in 1 Corinthians 15. Paul is writing to first-century believers who wanted to know specifically what our resurrected bodies would be like. A fair question, I believe. Isn’t that something we’ve all wondered about at some point? I know I have! The best analogy that Paul can give is to turn to the natural world and seed planting. Seeds don’t look like much. They appear pretty lifeless; shriveled up and dry as a bone. How can there be anything remotely related to life in these dead things? Of course, we know how this works, so did Paul, and so did the Corinthians to whom Paul was writing. That’s Paul’s point. He reminds believers then and now that looks are deceiving. The dry, shriveled up seeds that we plant in the ground have a marvelous way of regenerating themselves into new life. That little seed contains within itself the necessary cellular components to reproduce the whole plant: stem, flower, seed, etc. It’s all there.

I need to remind myself of this sacred truth when I am working the soil in my garden. The ordinary task of tilling and planting connects me with something much deeper than simply putting seeds in the ground. As a human, I am very much connected with the humus, the organic part of soil that results from decay of plant and animal matter. Those two words – human and humus – are pretty closely related etymologically. This takes me back to the very beginning: “…then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7). The curse placed upon Adam and every one of us, “You are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19), has been transformed through the second Adam, Jesus. Now, even when we die and return to dust, yet shall we live through Jesus who died and rose again (John 11:25).

How does all this work? I don’t know, and that, I believe, is what Paul is saying. We don’t know, and maybe that’s because we can’t know. Our finite brains, capable of so much, cannot grasp this. This is not a blind obedience sort of thing, but a peaceful resting in our crucified and risen Savior. The day is coming when we will no longer walk by faith, but “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). All the nagging questions that gnaw at our faith in this life will fade away in the light and beauty of Christ who is risen; who is risen indeed.

It may well be that the new heavens and the new earth promised in Scripture will take us back to God’s original design and purpose: “And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed” (Genesis 2:8). With this happy thought, I leave you to Easter joy as you work in your garden.