Monday, April 14, 2008

Going (a different shade of) green

On Saturday I had the good fortune to drive to McMinnville, TN with my two oldest. It's about 50 miles there, give or take a few, so it takes about an hour for the drive. We were on our way to a gun show, of all things; just a boys' afternoon out. I think Anji didn't mind too much, since the elimination of three souls from the house has a tendency to calm it down a bit (a LOT). And we, the three of us, we were just going to enjoy doing a manly thing together. But the gun show turned out to be less of a show than the scenes we encountered on our drive.

As we came out of Sparta and turned south, I heard Asa exclaim, "Oh, Papa, it's so beautiful! Look, Papa!" I looked around and indeed, it was beautiful. The area is rural, with small hills and valleys. Much of it is current and former pastureland, and those green pastures were framed in the early blooms of trees just eager to enjoy the warmth of spring's embrace. Purple, white, yellow, and green on the ground contrasted with the clear blue sky. The colors were almost shocking to our eyes. They were, in a word, AWESOME.

Spring is a marvelous season. There's promise and hope in it. I'm sure that's why the world has chosen to celebrate Easter in spring. Whether it's correct or not by theological or historical views, spring is properly a time to focus on renewal and redemption. 

God is not subtle in springtime. His Spirit powerfully establishes His dominance over the physical world as the new growth appears. The trees and bushes, then grasses and flowers, boldly proclaim His glory as the landscapes around us are transformed from dull and lifeless into vibrant and lovely. We have, right in front of us, the finest example of God's powerful presence, of His amazing creativity, of His redemptive Spirit, and His great love. 

You may recall (assuming you've seen it) that there is a scene in the movie, "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" where Aslan the Lion, recently arisen from the dead, moves swiftly across the land of Narnia to the castle of the White Witch. When he arrives in the courtyard of the castle, the witch and her minions have departed, but there remain many of her enemies, frozen in time like statues of stone. Aslan walks through the courtyard and gently breathes upon each of the statue-like creatures. Slowly, each of the frozen beings begin to return to life and prepare for battle. 

When the disciples were together after Jesus had been crucified, He appeared to them and breathed on them so that they might receive the Holy Spirit. They were about to go to battle as well, but on a scale that Narnian fantasy cannot encompass. 

In springtime there are moments where you can nearly feel and certainly can see the results of the breath of God. The earth, in it's desperate state, can do nothing to renew itself. It is wholly dependent upon the work of God's Spirit to bring about green pastures, new flowers, and budding trees.

And we, like the earth, need renewal, both for this season and ever onward. I thank God our hope in Him springs eternally green.
"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." (Romans 15:13)

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