Mrs Val Morrison, moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, offers some thoughts on the everlasting truths of Easter
Spending a week in the Eastern Synod at the beginning of April meant I spent more time driving along country lanes than I’d have done at home in South Yorkshire. When I arrived, a glance along the line of a hedge or avenue of trees offered a faint green haze and the promise of spring. Daffodils, primroses, blackthorn blossom and gorse were all looking especially bright in the April sunshine, a welcome contrast to our long, cold, winter.
As the week progressed, so did the intensity of the green until, by the time I left, the countryside was transformed by a wonderful emerald green clothing all the hedges and most of the trees in their spring finery. We all say: “Doesn’t the countryside look fabulous? So much promise, so much hope.”
Preachers, often and rightly, use these images from nature as a metaphor for the promise of Easter and the hope of the resurrection.
When I got home, a bush in our garden – which, as I left, had just been coming into flower –had dropped most of its gorgeous deep pink flowers. I was disappointed because it’s so beautiful for the short time it’s in flower – and I’d missed it.
Here was a reminder that using spring flowers and new green leaves as a metaphor for the hope and promise of Easter is only partially helpful.
Yes, here is the promise that God’s hand continues to hold his creation with the certainty that is demonstrated by the changing seasons; yes, here is the hope which comes with the expectation of warmer days and lighter nights; and yes, here is transformation from the bare wood of winter to the leaf covered branches of spring. But, this transformation is seasonal – and it is in that crucial detail that this metaphor ends its usefulness.
On that first Easter morning God, in his love, transformed the powers of death and darkness into powers of life and light, not just for a season, but for all time and for all eternity. This was a transformation which was both personal and universal. It was about God showing us he was not remote from us, but was at work in every situation, every human experience, bringing comfort to the broken hearted, good news to the poor and sight to the blind.
Today, Easter Sunday, we join with Christians everywhere in declaring “He is risen”. We must open our hearts and minds to what that really means – the truth of our living God eager to renew and transform his disciples as he travels with us; not just for a season, but for all eternity. Jesus is risen. Alleluia!
Photo credit: Spring tree flowering #3 (pink edition) by q8 http://www.flickr.com/photos/8/10631544/, Licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en