Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Seedling

I Corinthians 15:20 “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

Sitting on the glider on the backyard swing set, I bask in the beauty of an early spring day. As I rock gently back and forth, the soft squeaking of the glider mesmerizes me, like the gentle creaking of a comfortable rocking chair. High in our mulberry trees, the male cardinal calls for his mate. A beautiful bush grows three feet taller than our privacy fence, its branches laden with pale green leaves and thousands of tiny, fragrant white flowers—sweet-smelling, like honeysuckle. A black butterfly, splashed with white spots and bold, orange stripes, lights on the flowers; he is hungry for their nectar.

The sunshine warms my face and arms. A breeze blows—not a typical Kansas gale, but a gentle breeze, enough to ruffle my hair and start the cottonwoods softly whispering. Far overhead planes from nearby Mid-Continent Airport drone, whisking their passengers to some distant city. The bark of the neighbor’s dogs occasionally punctuates the quiet morning; they beg for our attention.

Scott works in the garden, turning up the rich, brown soil. It’s time for the second round of beans to be planted. One by one, he drops the seeds into the soil, and then buries them deep in the brown earth. Soon we’ll enjoy the tender vegetables.

Consider the miracle of the seed. Buried two inches beneath the surface, the lifeless seed slowly awakens to new life. As the sun warms the soil, the seedling begins to stir until it cracks the seed open, much like a chick cracks the egg which shelters it. After the seed has cracked open, the seedling toils to break free into the fresh air and sunshine. Bent over, it slowly pushes through the earth, letting its back do all the work. Within a week the soil cracks and splits, evidence of the seedling’s labor. In another day the pale green seedling appears, still bent over. Soon the seedling completely emerges from the dark earth, and straightening its back and unfurling its leaves, it stands erect, lifting its head toward the warmth of the sun. Carefully, we nurture the seedling. Providing water and keeping the weeds away, we anticipate a harvest of delicious green beans.

Observing the plant life that God has created makes it so much easier to understand spiritual truths. Planting a seed and watching it germinate and grow is a metaphor for resurrection. Watching seeds emerge from their burial and watching perennials, dead through the winter, emerge to new life prepares our feeble human minds to understand resurrection and anticipate the glorious new life that awaits us in heaven with God. We need not fear death. We need not fear being buried in the earth, for we know, like the seed, we will rise to a beautiful new life, basking in the Son’s bright light.

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