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  • Writer's pictureRev. Dr. Billy Burch

Thoughts on Easter Sunday

The first flowers of springtime always evoke comments. “Look! Flowers are coming up already!” It is not lost on me. One of the many wonders of God’s creation during this time of year is the vibrant colors that come up from an otherwise brown and faded ground. From my vantage point, not being a horticultural expert, the yellows appear first. A variety of lilies sprout around the mailboxes lined along the neighborhood. Then the beauty of the tiny yellow creeping flowers emerge and dot our front yards. Oxalis, or wood sorrel, someone told me, but I have no idea. I just think they are beautiful. I am told, upon commenting on how pretty those little flowers are, that they are actually weeds. Weeds? Flowers? It’s all subjective. No matter— they are all flowers to me. Especially now when color is most needed.

I find it appropriate that God chose spring as the time for us to acknowledge and remember the resurrection. While winter usually brings the beauty of snow, a white covering that symbolizes purity, the brown season immediately follows. Mud from the melted snow, barren trees, and unpredictable and often unforgiving weather makes us eager for change. No wonder springtime is replete with flowers plentiful in pots sitting on the shelves of grocery stores, hardware stores, gas stations, and makeshift tents along the streets, roadways, and highways. Buy the flowers! Bring color! Bring the freshness of spring! It’s Easter time!

Our lives go through seasons that feel very brown, cold, and unpredictable. Things lay heavy on us like a wool coat after a cold rain. We look at the barren fields and are reminded of the silt inside our hearts that yearn for color, the ache that yearns for healing. We notice the empty trees and yearn for the light green buds in ourselves to burst forth and sprout promise. We drive carefully through the dirt roads. Brown seasons are opportunities to get stuck. Pull over just a little too far off the road and sink into the sludge. Give it more gas! Try reverse! And find that you’ve only gotten deeper and need help— now.

We want change, but we can’t seem to find the appropriate gate to swing open, a way to get onto the property, which promises change. We seek freedom from the weight of dark things. I think somehow change and freedom hold hands. One must bring the other in like two sisters, making sure they stay together in a crowd, lest one falls behind, or worse, finds themselves lost. So we make our way to change, to freedom, by forcing it, trying harder, doing more, only to find those heavy things deep inside our minds and hearts remain.

But wait… driving along the road, you slow down in obedience to the road signs. You notice something white along the side of the mailbox only about 20 yards away. A piece of thrown-away hamburger rapper? Or perhaps a Styrofoam cup? But no! A flower! A beautiful white flower sprouting from the brown dirt. How did that happen? But it did. It is not a result of our trying nor our efforts that we see the sprouting colors. This is God’s doing. Now that your senses are aware, you see yellow, and purple and remember that today is, after all, a little warmer than yesterday. Change is no longer on the horizon, it is here.

That’s called hope. Hope is looking forward to something you know will change. Hope is why the resurrection is so meaningful. You see, dirt, darkness, and stone coldness, could not hold Jesus from new life. The Pure Flower rises! The Lily-of-the-Valley bursts forth in the purest of white! Resurrection means that the mightiest, darkest, coldest places in our hearts and soul stand no chance to the breath of life God gives to us through his Son. Those empty places will, too, sprout, forth the white and yellow petals that signify hope in every situation. The battle against frost has been won. Sin and evil? Defeated! Death and darkness? No match. Jesus is victorious! I’m sure these are some of the reasons a songwriter from centuries ago penned the words, “He's the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star. He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul…” That is the beauty of Easter.

“I am the resurrection and the life…” John 11:25a

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