Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

A New Perspective on Resurrection

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Our backyard is awash in yellow on this Easter morning. The palo verde trees are scenting the air with their fragrant blossoms, while the tan landscape rocks beneath are covered in a mix of yellow flowers from both the palo verde and mesquite trees. As I wrote this meditation yesterday, bees were humming above my head, busily gathering nectar from those blossoms under the dome of a clear blue sky.

But while this is a lovely image of spring, it’s not the focus of my meditation on this day of resurrection. One of the gifts of a new home is a new perspective on the changing seasons—both natural and liturgical. The beautiful, fragrant palo verde blossoms have been a revelation this spring, but when it comes to providing a new window on resurrection, nothing beats the ocotillo plant.

DSC_8424During Lent (and much of the rest of the year), the ocotillo looks lifeless. Its slender branches reveal nothing but long, sharp spines and scaly bark. But in spring—just about this time, in fact—the ocotillo begins to blossom. It doesn’t bother with leaves at this stage (those only appear during the rainy season). Instead, it jumps straight from the appearance of death to full-blown, resurrected glory. Bright orange flowers erupt from the end of each branch, joyfully proclaiming the life that has dwelt hidden within during the long weeks of winter and early spring.

One of the gifts of the desert is patience. I’ve had to caution my husband multiple times over the years against prematurely removing a seemingly dead plant from the garden because it was just not yet the right season for it to show new growth. As a spiritual guide, I’ve had to learn a similar type of patience with human seasons as well. When it appears that nothing is happening, that there is only death, I trust that the Spirit is nonetheless alive and working, and I wait for the eventual, inevitable signs of resurrection.

DSC_8811cOn this day—and week—as so many of us remember Jesus’ resurrection, I invite you to consider the “dead” seasons in your own life, and the eventual, inevitable signs of resurrection which have followed. If you, or those you love, are not yet bursting forth into blossom, do not despair. Instead, be patient. Wait and trust. Easter will come.

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