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March Tidings from Bethlehem

  -----Monthly News from In & Around Our Parish-----



From the Pastor’s Desk

March 2024

 

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you,     even in Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.” –Matthew 6:28-29


On March 30th there will be a knock at the side door of our sanctuary.  Outside that door will be a van from the local nursery filled with flowers.  Those flowers will fill the chancel, all beautiful, but one in particular calling us back to scripture, to the teaching of Christ, “consider the lilies of the field.”  I wonder how this all took shape back in the day; did Jesus reach out and pluck a wildflower from the hillside, did he merely gesture to blooming flowers nearby? 

It’s hard to say, but I want to believe the lily (or whatever flower it actually was) was there, it almost must have been there to make the point fully.  These flowers were beautiful, intricately constructed, and fabulously fragrant; they illuminated the landscape.  “Even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.”  Of course, that was true, even those critical of Jesus’ teaching couldn’t deny that kind of wisdom.

            And so, as we peer up at the perfectly placed lilies this Easter, we witness something of great beauty too, but also behold a reminder of God’s expansive handiwork.  We know God’s creative energy stretches beyond mere botany, after his crucifixion Christ was brought to life. 

God’s constructive power overwhelmed evil’s destructive tendencies.  This is certainly enough to engage our senses and captivate our spiritual imaginations.  But there’s always more to the story, the Spirit of Christ is perpetually drawing us deeper into the conversation, inviting us to consider the depths of meaning offered to us in these sacred moments.

            You see, the Easter lilies will be glorious, but alas, as exquisite as they are, in a week or so those flowers will fade.  Check out Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers the flower fades.”  Those lilies will indeed droop and tilt and the petals will fall to the ground, alas.  But all in good time, some faithful soul will come along, dig into the depths of that flowerpot, retrieve that seemingly dormant bulb, and bury it in the ground; hoping and trusting that life will spring forth again.  And do you know what?  Soon there will be green shoots breaking out of the ground.  That whole process of rejuvenation might be even more beguiling than the flower itself. 

            You see, so often, when we’re quoting this passage, we end our recitation right there, “consider the lilies of the field.”  The truth is, it’s just a few words further along that the real thrust of the lesson, if not the whole Easter season, is held out to us.  Check this out, after noting how gorgeous the landscape can be Jesus says, “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you?”  Now, there’s a powerful expression of assurance!

Just consider that line, quote it as readily as the bit about the lilies we already know, “will God not much more clothe you?”  And that just might be the focal point, that “much more” that gets mentioned must be the everything, the eternal, and the everlasting that God has offered to us through Christ’s death and resurrection. 

The glory of Easter is that Jesus was raised, the joy of Easter is rooted in the knowledge that every one of us will know that dazzling indescribable moment of resurrection as well.  A most blessed Easter to all of you!  May it be “much more” than you ever expected.                           

 

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dan    

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