Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
For much of the year, this verse is hard to understand. What does Jesus mean when he tells us that if we love our life we will lose it and vice versa?
But then come times when Jesus’s words make all the sense in the world. Well, friends, that time is now. And now is spring. All around us, day by day, this teaching of Jesus plays out in real time. Step outside. Look at the ground. Gaze through the branches of the trees. Listen to the birds sing. Smell the aroma of new life.
We live in a land that lays dead and dormant for half of the year. Leaves fall from the trees, grass withers and the flowers fade. During winter, I find it hard to even imagine what trees look like with leaves on. I see the bare branches and wonder if the leaves will ever return. Has death finally won? Will winter last forever? I’ve never lived in a climate that doesn’t experience this drastic seasonal change. And while I will not deny the allure of living in a land of always summer, I would miss this yearly reminder of the good news of Jesus Christ. The Good News that reminds us that death is not final.
For as surely as March turns to April, Jesus’ teachings are out in full display. Every year, Jesus reminds us not to hate the annual cycles of death, for we are always promised the abundant return of spring and new life.
Just yesterday, I had the screen door to my backyard open. For the first time this year, it felt as if life returned. This was my stone-rolled-away moment. As we journey through holy week, let us remember that even in the dark hours of Good Friday, spring is just around the corner. Look, just now I see a new flower bloom.
—Pr. Daniel Joyner Miller