Not long ago we experienced our first killing frost of the season. I am no green thumb, that is my farmer husband, but I do enjoy a small amount of flower and vegetable gardening. No two growing seasons are ever the same as any farmer and gardener will attest, and this year has been particularly challenging for both farmer and gardener. My flower garden flourished. My vegetable garden rode the struggle bus most of the summer, finally producing a sad little harvest in September.
I consider myself fortunate to live life on a farm, Jay once said one of the best benefits of farming is that you get to be outside and I would add farmers and their families are deeply connected to not only the earth itself but the cycle of life and death.
Growing up on a farm I quickly learned that death and life are woven together. Over the years I have joyously discovered new batches of kittens in the feed trough of the barn, or woke to discover a newborn colt or calf in the pasture. The inevitable flip side is I have lost many a farm animal and beloved pet to death. Some to old age, some to the butcher (sorry my vegetarian readers), and some to the road and other such sad endings.
We are primarily grain farmers, which involves planting seeds in the spring and harvesting in the fall. In order to harvest, the plant itself must die to produce the grain, which is essentially a seed, after its own kind. Although we don’t grow our crops for seed, grain that falls to the ground during harvest typically sprouts a plant and grows in the spring. Which is simply amazing if you stop and consider the fact. Especially taking into account how harsh and cold winter conditions can be some years. It blows my mind that come spring, the resurrection power of new life bursts forth as the light of the sun makes its way back.
It not surprising that the earth is full of death and resurrection. However, death wasn’t the original plan, life was. God gave us the choice to choose life or death and we who were created in his image chose death by buying the lie we could (can) discern what is good and what is evil through knowledge. The choice was, and still is, in a literal sense, a matter of life and death!
The good news (that is what the word gospel means, good news) is we weren’t abandoned to the consequences of our choices. The Living God of mercy and justice implemented his plan of redemption the moment we fell on our own sword.
The rescue plan would involve a long journey back, with the whole earth reflecting the method He would use and what we must choose – the power of resurrection life. In order for a resurrection to occur there must be a death. For those who choose Jesus as their Lord and Savior and Christianity as their worldview, the choice is was and for ever will be, mirroring what Jesus did those three days which are forever seared into human history. We must believe he died and rose from the dead. And then we too must die and rise again. We must die to our own selfish ambitions and rise in new life joined with him. And we don’t have to wait to be joined with him until our human bodies die. We are made new creations from the moment we say YES! I believe! And Yes! Jesus will be Lord of my life, and Yes! I will follow and obey Jesus as the King above all kings! Under the waters of Christian baptism, we choose to show the world like Christ we will die and like Christ we will rise up out of the water to new life. The old is gone. The new has come. New life bursts forth as the light of the Son of God makes His way back into the darkness of a lost and wandering human soul.
So if anyone is in Christ, there a new creation, everything old has passed away, see, everything has become new! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NRSV
This my dear friends gives us every reason to:
Be joy filled always,