Missing Resurrection – reprise
– by Andy Wade –
4/28/2012 (revision 4/5/2013)
God smacked me upside the head with an amazing double rainbow the other day. 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.
This was a resurrection moment!
Penetrating our lives with joy, beauty and newness, resurrection moments are all around us every day. You don’t plan them. You can’t control them. You can only stop and enjoy them when they appear in your life.
But how many resurrection moments do we pass by each day, our vision clouded by busyness, distractions, or perhaps more likely, by being pre-conditioned not to notice them?
For me, the garden is a great place to train my eyes, heart, and mind to discover resurrection all around me. There are, of course, the obvious ones; planted seeds that germinate and burst through the soil, perennials that spring back to life each year, or one of my favorites, the early-blooming Lenten Rose proclaiming that winter is nearly over and spring is on its way. Like a rainbow in the sky, these signs of resurrection are difficult to miss.
But what about other signs of life, for example, the lowly dandelion? We North Americans spend millions of dollars on toxins to rid our yards of these invasive “weeds”. (The US spends more annually on lawn care than on foreign aid!) 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 that by ridding ourselves of these pesky “weeds” 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. And why? Because we’ve missed a resurrection moment.
As my wife and I plan the garden, planning 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 God performed spiritual cataract surgery on the eyes of my heart. Suddenly I discovered joy in the 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 that are 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.
You cannot control resurrection. You can reject it, ignore it, or embrace it – but you cannot control it.
Stepping out of the garden and into the neighborhood, there’s Kevin. Society labeled him as “developmentally disabled”. I used to see him that way too. But as I’ve gotten to know him over the 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 Kevin, 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 at him, and was greeted with shouts of approval! “That’s Andy Wade! Andy Wade! Thanks, Andy Wade!” I felt like a rock star!
I see Kevin 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 Kevin, but because I’m someone special because Kevin 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 him. I’m so glad not to have passed him by. Kevin helps me to see resurrection and makes me wonder if we’ve gotten those labels backward; perhaps it’s those who pass by without noticing the joyful gift of people we’ve marginalized who are truly “developmentally disabled”.
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. I forget that life itself is a daily resurrection. I hit the pillow after an exhausting day, and all the while God continues to breathe life into me and into all creation.
Rising in the morning, if I take a moment to see, I discover God 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 celebrate 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, or even anti-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 trample under foot because my vision is clouded and I’m speed-walking through life.
Yes, I am broken. But the good news is that God is a God of resurrection! Resurrection moments are happening all around us, every day. When we begin to realize this, slow down and take it in, that’s when we also begin to see those resurrection-moments taking place in the soil of our own hearts, and we discover that we ourselves have become a resurrection-moment.