— by Andy Wade —
How many resurrection moments do we pass by each day, too busy, too distracted, or perhaps more likely, too pre-conditioned not to notice them? God smacked me upside the head with an amazing double rainbow yesterday. The colors were so intense in one of the arcs that I could easily distinguish the many bands of color painted across the sky. I had to stop. I had to just stand there in awe and take it in. You don’t plan rainbows. You can’t control them, you can only stop and enjoy them when they appear in your life. It’s that way with resurrection moments as well.
For me, the garden is a great place to train my eyes, heart, and mind to discover resurrection all around me. Take, for example, the lowly dandelion; we North Americans spend thousands of dollars on toxins to rid our yards of these invasive “weeds”. Yet these “weeds” are the most nutritious plants in the yard and provide some of the earliest flowers for bees to begin their spring ministry of pollination. We have been sold an anti-dandelion worldview and miss the gift they can be to our gardens and our bodies. Not only that, but because we’ve unquestionably bought into this worldview, we spray and broadcast toxins that affect all of creation, right down to the hormones in our own bodies. We think by ridding ourselves of these pesky “weeds” that we’re creating something beautiful when, in fact, we’ve only created a cheap imitation of paradise – all nice and shiny on the outside but, just under the surface, full of anti-resurrection power.
As my wife and I plan the garden, scheming splashes of texture and color in all the “right places”, our frustration with squirrels rearranging our flower bulbs turns into an adventure. At first I was annoyed by them. “How can I stop these cute rats from messing up our plans?” But then I had an attitude adjustment, discovering random beauty as flowers started popping up all over in unexpected places. I don’t need to attempt to control resurrection, just enter into it where it happens, give thanks, and enjoy it.
In a similar way, those raspberry shoots coming up in my path and wandering from my nice neat rows, and the borrage plants self-seeding throughout the garden, become not an annoyance, but rather an opportunity to share God’s surprising resurrection moments with neighborhood friends and family.
Stepping out of the garden and into the neighborhood, there’s John. Society labeled him as “developmentally disabled”. I used to see him that way too. But as I’ve gotten to know him over the past three years I’ve discovered the amazing, yet often hidden, gift he is to our community. Do you need to know or understand the relational connections in the church? Ask John – he’s a human database of knowledge. One day, as I was driving into town, he and a friend were at the crosswalk waiting to cross the street. The cars just kept passing him by. I stopped to let them cross, waved to them, and was greeted with shouts of approval! “That’s Andy Wade! Andy Wade! Thanks, Andy Wade!” I felt like a rock star!
I see John every morning as I take my son to school. We wave and smile. I’m moved inside. Not because I’m something special because I’m friendly to John, but because I’m someone special because John is in my life. His wave, his smile, stirs up resurrection hope in my heart and brightens my day. It’s amazing how quickly my mood can change with a simple smile and wave from John. I’m so glad not to have passed him by. I wonder sometimes if we’ve gotten those labels backward – perhaps the “developmentally disabled” are actually those who pass by without noticing the joyful gift of people we’ve pushed to the margins of our lives.
I’ll confess, I miss way too many of the resurrections going on around me every day. I get busy, distracted, and overwhelmed with life and forget that life itself is a daily resurrection. I hit the pillow after an exhausting day, all the while God continues to breathe life into me and into all creation.
And in the morning when I rise, if I take a moment to see, I discover God is inviting me into a new day, a day God has already been at work preparing for me to walk into. The power of the resurrection of Jesus we celebrated on Easter Day is the same power at work in my own life and in the community and world around me. God’s transforming power can be seen in something as small as a dandelion and experienced in a most profound way when we allow God to tweak our perspectives, correct our vision, and resurrect relationships stuck in pre-resurrection habits and attitudes.
When the double rainbow appeared in the sky I was driving. I was amazed, awed, grateful. I pulled over as soon as I could, but by that time one of the rainbows had vanished. I wonder how many resurrection moments I miss because my lifestyle is so fast that, by the time I slow down enough to enter into it, the moment has passed. In my zeal to accomplish as much as possible, I may just be missing out on the most important parts of this amazing life I’ve been given.
How about you? Where do you experience the big and small resurrections made possible by God?