Week of: April 21, 2019
Scripture: John 20:1-18
Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him …"
(John 20:15, NRSV)
One of my favorite Easter hymns, which perhaps is slightly obscure and certainly underused, is "Now the Green Blade Riseth" (UMH 311). The poetic metaphor of Jesus' resurrection as a green blade rising from dead grain seems challenging, but a closer look draws us deeper into the larger biblical narrative.
Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain,
Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.
In the Gospel text for Resurrection Sunday, Mary Magdalene mistakes the unknown man near the tomb for the gardener. Jesus appearing in a garden reminds us of the Garden of Eden, helping us to imagine the resurrection as a return to the goodness found in God's creation before humankind disrupts that goodness. The hymn text supports this imagery by comparing Jesus to a green blade of hope rising from the dead.
In this Easter season, may we see Jesus as that green blade, giving us hope in God's miraculous ability to make all things new. Poetry, song, dance, and visual imagery provide the gathered body the "instruments" to celebrate that Love lives again, not only in creation, but in each and every one of us. It is through the variety of arts in liturgy that worshippers are inspired to live in the love of Christ Jesus, that the whole of creation might be resurrected in goodness and in glory.
O Risen Christ, in your resurrection, may we see hope in newness. As you live again, help us to love again. Cause your love to grow in us so that others might come to know you and, in turn, live their lives in love and peace. Amen.
Rev. Taylor Driskill Pafford
Deacon in Full Connection
Associate Minister, Children, Youth and Families
Washington Street United Methodist Church
Photo: The flowers outside Lambuth Inn at Lake Junaluska shimmer from the morning dew during Music & Worship Arts Week 2018. (Fellowship photo by Daniel Craig.)