Stop And Smell the Resurrection Flowers!
This past month at my church, I've been preaching on what it means to lead a Resurrection life--to live life as Jesus desires for us to lead it: filled with hope, purpose, meaning and joy. All of this sounds good, but how do we make this happen in a practical sense? This week we're going to spend some time thinking about just that.
Living your life in the name of Jesus (living as Jesus would have you live) makes your ordinary extraordinary. When I surrender my ordinary days to Jesus, incredible things can happen. For starters, I begin to notice things that are beautiful, eternal and filled with Resurrection hope.
Last night I informed my kids that there would be no television watching or video game playing for the entire evening. They were just going to have to find other things to do. It had been a long and challenging day, and I just wanted to have a bit of peace in the house.
I was grilling up some pork chops outside, and decided to sit on our back patio to look into the evening sky. A storm was blowing past us, and the breeze felt fantastic, filled with the fragrance of rain and some jasmine that was growing nearby. I sat there breathing it all in, looking out over the beauty and majesty of the clouds and fading sunlight in the gathering dusk.
Just then Jacob, my youngest son, came out and sat down next to me. He talked incessantly about his day, his nerf gun how much he loved our dog... Then he went and found a football and asked me to play catch with him. So we did, for the first time in a busy few weeks we did something just for the two of us.
We sat back down after a while, and Jacob looked around, smiled his odd little smile, and said, "It's nice out here, Dad."
The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans:
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
When I was a kid, I was taught this verse meant that even if people weren't Christians, they ought to become Christians merely by observing nature. I believe that observing nature objectively can lead someone to a belief in God, but it takes a bit more to see the power of the Risen Christ in the evening sky.
Surrendering your life to Jesus enables you to see all that God is doing in Creation through the lens of Christ and the hope of the Resurrection.
The late Thomas Merton once wrote, "The pale flowers of the dogwood outside this window are saints. The little yellow flowers that nobody notices on the edge of the road are saints looking up into the face of God."
For followers of Jesus, "stopping to smell the flowers" can open our minds and spirits to the Resurrection hope that is contained within the ordinary, days, the ordinary moments and indeed within all of Creation around us.
Because I intentionally decided to push back against the stress and the noise, and live in the name of Jesus on an ordinary evening, I experienced extraordinary moments of Resurrection joy with my son as we took in God's great Creation together. The potential for that moment had been there all along--but I finally noticed it.
May you notice the Resurrection joy all around you today--in Creation, in the ordinary moments of your day. May you intentionally create space for Resurrection joy to pervade your heart, soul and mind as you stop and smell the flowers. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.