Wednesday, March 29, 2006

fallen flower


"For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof fadeth away: But the word of the LORD endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."

I Peter 1:24-25

A friend of mine passed away two days ago. Her name was Holly. It's been years since I saw or talked to her last, but I have always thought of her as family. We worked with the same ministry for years, and she carried the presence of Jesus around with her, with her sparkling blue eyes and funny laugh, her ready smile and her unwavering commitment. She taught me how to run the industrial dishwasher (and how NOT to spray 180 degree water all over the kitchen... this she taught me by example, and I still laugh when I remember it). I prayed with her. I danced with her. I loved the Lord with her.

Holly was a young woman, and she leaves behind a husband and four children. Pray for them, if you will. In the past few years I've had many opportunities to face the fragility of life, to say goodbye... but I can't imagine what they're going through. In this physical life, which Scripture says is like the flowers in the grass, we first learn to love and to cherish. And because of the nature of this life, and because we love so much, we also learn what it means to lose something of inestimable worth. In joining our hearts with something or someone beyond ourselves, we ensure that one day we will know what it means to live with a broken heart.

Lest this post become too depressing...

Mortality is not my favourite subject, nor is it likely yours, but God doesn't shy away from the topic one little bit. Scripture constantly reminds us how fragile life is. How fleeting. And how vain... if we do not enter into a higher form of life during our time here. We are born of the flesh; that is, we enter this world in physical bodies by physical means. Jesus told Nicodemus, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh"... and then He said, "and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

"Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."

We who long for permanence and lasting significance will find ourselves betrayed by our own bodies, because physically every one of us is already dying. Our bodies are corrupt; our lives are short. We are indeed much like the grass of the field, and the glories of our lives, small and great, are like the flowers which fade away.

But we are not without hope. One came into this world who seemed as fragile as the grass, but within Him was the everlasting, ever-living Spirit of God. He faced the end of man with a serenity that shouted to all who would listen, "This is the Son of God!" He died, but "God raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God."

In His triumph we are offered triumph. He links His destiny with ours, if we will have Him. Through His word of forgiveness and regeneration we are literally offered a new birth:

"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever... The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the LORD endureth for ever."

The life born within us is a life of the Spirit, as Jesus promised. It is in incorruptible. It will last. When these bodies of grass wither, we will live on. When this world comes to an end, we will still praise Him. And we shall find that all that we cherished, all that we loved, all that we treasured most, is still ours. The life He gives is life abundant, and every broken heart will be healed.

The grass has withered; the flower thereof has fallen away. But my friend Holly has gone into the everlasting world of which we are only a shadow. She lives.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

* * *

Quotes from John chapter 3, and 1 Peter chapter 1.


1 Comments:

Blogger C. H. Green said...

So sorry for your loss. Praying for Holley's family tonight.

8:45 PM  

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