"When you give them your breath, life is created, and you renew the face of the earth. Psalm 104:30"
Listen to: Soweto Gospel Choir - Ahuna Ye Tswanang Le Jesu Kammatla (There's No One Like Jesus)
Last week I nearly had a car accident! I was driving along when I noticed a sight that nearly made we weep. an entire hilly corner at an intersection, normally covered with advertising and seasonal gimmicks, was instead flooded with crocuses. The area was blanketed with their purple blossoms. I had been waiting for weeks to see my little friends as an indicator that winter was waning and spring was on its way. Here they were, en masse, triumphant. Silent but so brilliant I wanted to stop the car in the middle of traffic, gaze at them and say "thank you! It's so good to finally see you!" To me they are nature's herald of what our faith teaches: death could not hold Jesus in the grave (Acts 2:24). Life triumphs.
As we enter the Easter season, we are reminded that life indeed is constantly in motion. Throughout our lives we grow, change, die, reform, regenerate, re-become, resurrect. This is all a pattern that reflects our eternal destiny. We find this not only in ourselves but built into the fabric of the cosmos and in nature. In reacting to all this, our Easter readings convey the doubts, fears, amazement and misunderstandings of the early believers. We are no different. We can take comfort that the road of life is not always straight forward, but one filled with challenges, questions, dilemmas as wells as comforts, surprises and joys.
That is why I love the crocus flower so much. It is a delicate, beautiful flower, but it is able to withstand great winds and bitter weather. It is designed to bear the harshness of winter and survive under severe conditions. They brighten a cold, bleak environment with their vibrant color. As we live our life of faith together, we are equipped like crocuses to withstand the harsh winters of life with grace, prayer, faithful action and worship. We too can represent the ability to get through hard times with the help of God, others and that inner strength that comes out of the depths of our souls. Also, crocuses have come to symbolize gladness and cheerfulness, and are often given to represent joy and tokens of friendship. So crocuses represent the development of gladness and cheerfulness in the face of trial. What better flower could we emulate this Easter, as we help people through their difficulties and model strength, courage and new life we have received through Christ?
One last interesting point. Did you know that saffron, the most expensive spice in the world, is extracted from some varieties of the crocus plant? imagine that. A beautiful flower, that withstands the harshest of elements, signals new beginnings, brings us beauty, chooses cheerfulness, is the most valued of spices, and even has healing purposes. From such a small flower comes so much. God in his wisdom has given us a true gift to ponder in a beautiful flower which reflects the Gift we have received in Christ, as we ponder the mysteries of the Easter season.
What difficulties are you coming through?
Where do you see signs of new life emerging?
How can you relate to the crocus flower -- does your faith sometimes feel like the crocus?
Have you received God's gift of friendship in Jesus?
Prayer: "God of the crocus, thank you for nature and all its gifts. Grace us with us strength to endure and in bloom wherever we are. May we reflect your love and the friendship of your divine Son Jesus."