The $5 forsythia branches I bought at Sprouts look differently today than they did. When I bought them a month ago, the bony branches held canary-yellow flowers that sang bright and beautiful. But with time, the flowers are slowly shriveling and folding inward, giving way for new green growth.
In nature, isn’t there always a death of sorts before new life?
I don’t know why it’s so hard to accept that sacrifice comes before the growth.
Before the fruit.
I’ve always struggled a bit with Easter, and I thought this is because the sacrifice – the barbaric behavior that resulted in the bloody and broken body of Christ – makes me squirm. How could people treat someone like that? If I place myself inside that heartbreaking time and place, I want to believe I’m Mary Magdalene or one of the other mothers looking on helplessly in grief and horror. But I’ve discovered what really makes me uncomfortable is knowing I’m not those women at all. I’m one in the angry crowd who helped put Him on the cross. My sins are nails and thorns and choruses of crucify him.
I’m the one who’s bloody and broken who deserves the worst but receives the best. It just doesn’t sit well but a gift is a gift and I open my hands to receive it once again: With Jesus’ sacrifice, the knowledge of the incomparable vastness of God’s love for us.
“How do we measure the size of a fire? By the number of firefighters and fire engines sent to fight against it. How do we measure the seriousness of a medical condition? By the amount of risk the doctors take in prescribing dangerous antibiotics or surgical procedures. How do we measure the gravity of sin and the incomparable vastness of God’s love for us? By looking at the magnitude of what God has done for us in Jesus, who became like a common criminal for our sake and in our place.” ~Fleming Rutledge
And so Jesus is not left on the cross but lives and breathes in heaven. He lives and breathes in you. In me. We aren’t left to shrivel but alive to sing because we’re saved.
His sacrifice, our saving grace.
His sacrifice, our abundant growth.
And we look differently than we did.
Those tender, bright green shoots on the forsythia branches keep on reaching for the sky like there’s no other way to go.
May you and I walk light and free in the power of His resurrection knowing God loves you more than you’ll ever fathom.
Have a blessed Easter, friends.