I love spring. In fact, I think it’s my favourite time of year. I carefully watch as the bulbs poke their leaves through the thawing soil. It’s a promise of new and brighter things. This year, as it has been each time we have moved, I watch in great anticipation of what those leaves will become. I did not plant much of what is in my garden this year. It was left and cared for by another’s hand, and this spring, it is mine to watch come to life. I know the families of what might appear, but I have no idea as to it colour, or it’s unique variety. That is a gift from God itself. What was lying very deep in the soil, while it froze over top of it, is reappearing as the sun shines, and rains come.
Have you ever noticed that in Scripture – some really big events happened in a garden. Time began, as the saying goes, in a garden. God placed His first created friends (yep, He created them for fellowship, a trend that has never changed) in the center of a perfect garden. And it was in through the activities in this garden that Sin entered the world. Adam and Eve began the legacy that would forever change our perfect communion with The Creator of the Universe.
Much later in God’s story, we find the First Born of Creation praying in a garden. Praying so hard that it was as if he was sweating blood. Studies have shown that is it possible to sweat blood under extremely stressful conditions. I think Jesus facing death certainly met this criteria. (here’s a link, if you want more information : http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=445320. I find it interesting to note that as Jesus was preparing to pray at Gethsemane, he asked his closest friends to join him in the garden. Yet again, scripture has The Lord seeking to have relationship with His creation, even in the darkest of times. I’m afraid that I see too much of me in the disciples that fell asleep, even though they were asked to join in the prayer. How easy it is to take the relationship for granted, assuming the one I love will always be there, and “sleep” through the last hours of our time…Lord, forgive me.
Fast forward through the time of Jesus trial and crucifixion, when He paid the final price to save us from the inevitable outcome of our sins. We watch, through the writers of the Gospels, as His friends are gathered close on that hill. They weep for their loss, they watch in anguish as their beloved breathes His last, and they try to imagine life without Him. If only they had paid more attention while He was alive.
But then, it’s Sunday Morning. Mary had come to the garden tomb to tend to her Master’s grave, and she finds his body missing. I know the panic I have when something quite trivial, like my keys, aren’t in the place they are supposed to be. I can only begin to imagine the complete sense of panic, and despair, and questioning that she must have been feeling. As I picture her wanting to run and find someone to ask what is going on – John’s gospel paints my favourite scene in all of scripture. My dad had an old black and white print of this scene, and a different times in my life, I have only had to read the caption, and I find myself crying. The scene is this:
Mary first sees the angels, and they ask why she is crying. Then a man appears behind her. We are told directly that it’s Jesus she sees, but she thinks it’s the gardener, and she asks where they have taken him. He answers with just one word, and as I write this, I can hear how gently he says it, as a father would say his child’s name, or as gently as someone might whisper a dearly loved ones name; Jesus simply says “Mary”. As soon as she hears this, she instantly knows it’s her Lord, and she cries “Rabboni”, which means teacher.
When this encounter is finished, she wastes no time, but runs (as the other gospels tell us) to tell the disciples. Catch that – she ran, didn’t stop to hold the moment to herself, but ran to find the rest of Jesus closest friends. As soon as they heard the news, it was so incredible, that they ran back to see it for themselves. Good News brings excitement, and must be shared. The friends of Jesus show us that – those who got the news first, could not contain their excitement, and had to run to tell others.
A few shorts months ago, on Christmas Eve – we read about those who got the new first of Jesus birth from the angels. They ran to the stable, and when they saw the Truth in person, they ran to tell others. Here, we are celebrating His life again, and as soon as people heard the news, they ran to see The Truth, and then ran to tell others.
When’s the last time you ran to tell someone about your relationship with The Truth. Are you excited to have the opportunity to walk with God’s Only Son, the Risen Christ? Good News must be shared, it’s just too important not to share. As the bulbs, and trees, and of God’s handiwork in this part of the world come back to life – be sure to share the news that the First Born of Creation is alive and wants to walk with each one of us. This Easter – as it should be everyday – be sure to share the good news with someone you love, and then thank Him for the Gift of His life.