On Holy Saturday I found myself digging in the dirt. Months earlier I had ordered some bulbs and bare roots to plant in our back yard. I was told that they would be shipped to me when it was the right time to plant them. I received one bare root about a month ago, and that was it. On Saturday morning I decided that I had been waiting too long, and that I would need to call this week to check on the order. Later in the day when I went out to check on the mail, I saw that the mailman had gotten creative. He left the door of the mailbox open, put a box on it, and then used a rubber-band to secure the box. My bulbs and bare roots had arrived!
I was struck by the timing of the delivery. The directions included in the box encouraged immediate planting. Because of the heat, I decided to wait until close to sundown. One after another, I planted 16 bulbs and 3 bare roots. Out of the yard I took rocks to mark where I had planted them so that I would know where to water. When I finished it looked like a little grave-yard with markers. I knew, though, that it was life, and not death, that had been planted. What we plant creates the potential of what might grow. Growth is not guaranteed, but hope starts with the planting. It was almost dark when I finished, and time to go inside.
Early on Easter morning while it was still dark I went outside to check on the bulbs to make sure that nothing had been disturbed. Although all looked as I expected, I knew that I would hear a different story at the Easter services that I planned on attending. As Mary arrived at the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, she found that the large rock that closed the tomb had been rolled away. Mary panicked! She raced as fast as she could to get 2 of Jesus’ disciples. I expect that Mary could think of many possibilities of what might have happened to Jesus’ body, though resurrection did not seem to make the list.
From Good Friday into the early hours of Easter morning, the followers of Jesus could only think about death. I’m wondering, however, about what Jesus was thinking as he was being taken to the cross? Jesus was looking at the world from a different view than his followers. He was using God’s perspective. As Jesus hung on the cross, was he seeing death or life? Defeat or hope? Jesus knew that he was planting for the future.
I like the part of the story where Jesus says Mary’s name. At that moment she recognizes her teacher, and her perspective changes! She is no longer focusing on death. She is looking into the future and is open to her role in Jesus’ plan. All of a sudden, faith is soaring in Mary, and she is filled with joy! Jesus sends Mary to the disciples to tell them what she had seen; that he was ascending to his God and to their God. Do we think that she walked to share this news?
Jesus planted God’s perspective into his followers. They were then called to also become planters. It appears to me that God’s perspective has to be chosen, that it is not what naturally grows. God could have forced it upon us, but this does not seem to be God’s nature. The world offers many different perspectives that can be very enticing. Options are required for us to truly make a choice.
As I listen to the people around me, I’m surprised by how much discouragement and anger I hear. Pick any subject. Our world. Our country. Our leaders. Our denomination. Our families. Our jobs. Our church. Our lives. I hear the world’s perspective way more often than I hear God’s perspective, even in the places where I most expect to hear God’s perspective. Which one is growing in us? What are we planting? What we plant creates the potential of what might grow.
I’m looking forward to the beauty of the flowers that I have planted in my back-yard. I’m even more excited, though, to see what grows as God’s perspective continues to be shared and planted!
Your brother on the journey, Mark