Planting Gardens in Celebration of Resurrection

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Spring is the season when songbirds return, the season when trees bud and flowers bloom. It is a season of rebirth, a time to celebrate fertility. It is the season when things that had seemed dead once again explode with life. It is a season of resurrection.

As Christians, we mark each spring with a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus and the good news represented by the empty tomb. Our holiday is infused with symbols of new life and rebirth. Many of us have become so accustomed to the association of bunnies and eggs with Easter that we may no longer recognize them as the representations of the fertility of spring that they are. Even the English word “Easter” is believed to derive from Eostre, a pagan goddess of dawn. Whatever the origin of these symbols, there is clearly a deep and ancient connection between Easter and spring, between spring and resurrection.

Wendell Berry concludes his magnificent poem “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” with this advice:  “Practice resurrection.”

As we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, and as we welcome the new life that comes with spring, perhaps we would do well to ponder what it might look like for us to “practice resurrection” in this season.
Spring is a time for burying seeds in the ground, in faith that beneath the soil they will come to life and rise again as plants. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,” Jesus said, “it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” As Paul wrote, “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.”

From the “death” of the seed will come many seeds.

Life from death. Resurrection.

The tomb that Jesus walked out of over 2,000 years was in a garden. When he appeared to Mary, she mistook him for a gardener.

If we want to practice resurrection this season, perhaps that will mean getting back to the garden.

Why not celebrate resurrection this season by actually practicing resurrection? Consider letting this be a season for sowing real seeds in real soil. There are countless ways to do this, of course. If you can’t plant a garden, consider planting couple of tomato plants on the back porch or volunteering to help plant flowers in a destitute neighborhood. The opportunities for sowing are nearly endless.

However we choose to do it, let’s get some dirt under our fingernails and marvel at resurrection.

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Bill is a graduate of seminary, a former attorney and now a full-time farmer in southern Virginia. He is the author of Organic Wesley: A Christian Perspective on Food, Farming and Faith, now available from Seedbed.

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