Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25, paraphrase)
At a certain point, towards what I think should be the end of winter, I begin to look out the front door to see if I can spot any signs of life returning in nature. Sure enough, yesterday the tips of my crocuses began to emerge from my garden, determined to get a head start on spring. Their early appearance put me in mind of something that E. B. White wrote after the death of his wife of many years:
“Katherine was a member of the resurrection conspiracy - the company of those who plant seeds of hope under the dark skies of grief and oppression.”
Thinking back on their life together, he recalled images of her as she planned and tended her perennial flower bed during what would certainly be the last autumn of her life:
“There she would sit, hour after hour, in the wind and the weather, while Henry Allen produced dozens of brown paper packages of new bulbs and a basketful of old ones, ready for the intricate interment. As the years went by and age overtook her, there was something comical yet touching in her bedraggled appearance on this awesome occasion – the small hunched-over figure, her studied absorption in the implausible notion that there would be yet another spring, oblivious to the ending of her own days, which she knew perfectly well was near at hand, sitting there with her detailed chart under those dark skies in the dying October, calmly plotting the resurrection.”
Like Katherine, the Church is dedicated to the task of “planting seeds of hope under dark skies of grief and oppression.” On good days and bad, day in and day out, we bear witness to that “implausible notion that there will be yet another spring,” and life, not death, will have the final word.
We do this in many ways – feeding the hungry, encouraging the lonely, visiting the sick, comforting those who grieve. Whatever form our ministries take, in the end, each of us is called to be a herald of that new creation that has broken into human history through the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Individually and together we are called to proclaim and embody the great good news of the Gospel:
“The old life has passed away, a new life has begun!” (2 Cor. 5:17)
Now winter is past, and spring is beginning to blossom. Easter comes early this year, and my crocuses seemed to have something they wanted to say to us all today. The peace of the risen Christ be with you all.
Your Fellow Plotter in the Great Resurrection Conspiracy
WHITE, E. B. in the introduction to Onward and Upward in the Garden, Katherine White (New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1955), pp.xviii-xix.