Monthly Archives: April 2011

Spring is Resurrection Time!

Spring is resurrection time. Trees and bushes and fields that seemed dead have come alive.

For winter’s rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.
(Algernon Charles Swinburne, Atalanta in Calydon, 1865, st. 4)

Wildflowers will soon peek through the warming humus in a race to flower before the forest canopy closes out the warming sun. First, the bloodroot will open its white petals. Then clusters of spring beauties and hepaticas will fringe the forest pathways. Shortly, a carpet of dog-toothed violets will unveil their shy saffron flowers below the maples. The woodlands rise from their wintry rest to don a coat of many colours.

How fitting that we celebrate Easter at this season. On Friday of Passover Christ died upon the cross. With his body sealed in a guarded tomb, the enemies of Christ thought they had triumphed. His disciples retreated behind closed doors to nurse their despair. Satan chortled with glee.

Then on the first day of the week, he arose from death. The women who had witnessed his death and burial came to the tomb to anoint his body with spices where they found the stone rolled away. “Suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. . . ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen.”( Luke 24:1-6)

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes;
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign,
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
( Christ Arose, text and music, Robert Lowry )

Overnight his frightened and despairing disciples became fearless preachers of the gospel. On the day of Pentecost, Peter proclaimed, “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs . . . you with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”( Acts 2:22-24)

How appropriate that we celebrate Easter in the spring although its effect stretches throughout the year!

Unnatural Nature

Nature often seems unnatural, out of control. Floods along the Red River. Hail the size of baseballs. Snow when we expect crocuses and tulips. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Tsunamis. Cyclones. As the evolutionists phrase it, all nature is red in tooth and claw.
The Japanese had no warning before their historic earthquake and tsunami. Neither did the Indonesians in Aceh, nor the Pakistanis in their mountain villages when their great earthquake struck.
One would think that nature—the created world—would be subject to the ‘laws of nature’. If it were, it would be dependable, predictable, and certain. It ought to be so foreseeable that the passage of the seasons and the rise and setting of the sun would leave us feeling rather bored by the predictability of it all.
Such is not the case. Instead we grumble about the weather because it doesn’t fulfill our expectations. News broadcasts parade an endless series of stories from around the world highlighting aberrations in the ‘natural order’. Nature is out of whack.
In Romans eight Paul graphically personifies the agony of nature. “The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Rom. 8:22). How can this be when God reigns over the universe?
To find the answer, we have to go back, far back into the mists of time to Genesis chapter three—the historic Fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. There Adam and Eve, our ancestors, raised a flag of rebellion by breaking God’s simple command. Through their willful act they introduced chaos into the ordered universe. Their choice forever marred all nature, including their own. Instead of innocence and purity, their progeny inherit a depraved, stubborn, and selfish nature, a nature bent on folly and evil.
The historic Fall injected disorder. Thorns and thistles began to infest the ground. Jealousy festered within the first family leading to murder. Pride and competition contaminated human society. Diseases spread. Earthquakes came. Flood arose. Deserts advanced. Disarray spread on every side.
Fortunately, God immediately initiated a rescue operation aimed at the redemption of mankind and the restoration of order in nature. Paul writes, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from the bondage to decay and brought into the freedom of the children of God” (Rom 8:19-21). A time will come when the lion will lie down with the lamb.
Until that hope is fulfilled, God has called us to be stewards of creation—and to do our best to cherish the natural world. However, we will never see nature fully healed until Christ returns. His return is our blessed hope and the hope of all creation.