This time of year, if you are a gardener your mind turns to the tiny seed and your hands to the tiller and gardening tools. You are driven by a dream of harvest. You prepare the soil. You draw a map of how you will plant. You labor in hope, sweat and sore muscles. Here at our place the raised beds are planted and the garden plowed and tilled. Next week we’ll do most of our planting. The seeds wait patiently in their packets.
As you plant your seeds it is a hope-filled endeavor but have you ever considered that your garden is a place of deathbeds. I know it sounds morbid but JESUS said:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” [John 12:24]
As you bury each seed in it’s final darkness it begins slowly dying, deconstructing, coming undone, transforming. It is ceasing to be a seed as root and shoot activate. And as more roots and shoots emerge, the seed ceases to be. But this death is swallowed in the newness of life. But first comes the death.
If you know the Biblical story of creation, you know GOD planted a garden in Eden for the first Adam to care for and tend. Fast forward to the second Adam, JESUS, and we find Him wrestling in prayer in a garden, knowing that He was The Seed who must pass through death.
As JESUS gave up His life, crucified by the religious leaders, the mobbing crowd and the Roman Empire, His followers’ dreams of a messiah died with Him. It wasn’t just the death of the GOD/Man- it was the death of dreams.
Our Christian faith, our belief in JESUS as Messiah, incarnate GOD as seed of a coming kingdom, is wholly dependent on the reality of His resurrection. Like the seed that dies, that gives itself up for life to come forth, JESUS as The Seed was placed in a tomb. Buried in darkness, for three days He ‘germinated’. Ironically, when He rose from the dead Mary Magdalene thought He was the gardener.
Concerning JESUS’ resurrection the apostle Paul said:
“…and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive…” [1 Corinthians 15…]
Resurrection is central to both GOD’s creation and Christian faith. The death and resurrection of JESUS is the crux of our belief. Our hope hangs on the reality of His bursting forth- no longer as just The Seed- but now as The Vine. And this vine, maybe a bit like supernatural kudzu, will overtake the whole garden, transforming everything by His resurrection power. We taste the beginnings now and then in fullness in The Age To Come.
This hope in JESUS’ resurrection is more wild and powerful than merely looking forward to a disembodied paradise with GOD. His resurrection means our bodily resurrection and the coming of an age when the entire created order will be remade under and through Him.
Having faith in JESUS means we leave the safety of the ‘packets’ in which we arrived and invite GOD to bury us with care in the soil we are in – so that along with Him, The Seed who went before us, the life of the Holy Spirit will be released and we too will rise. Are we not all seeds in His hand?
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