By Rev. Gueary Clendenning
Spring is here! The grass, dormant for several months, has turned from brown to a beautiful carpet green. Wilted plants and flowers are coming alive again, and the cold winter wind has been replaced with a warm gentle breeze. Yes, Spring is here!
Last year, in early spring, a friend and I traveled to Macon, Georgia, hoping to see the cherry trees in bloom. It has been reported that Macon has over 350,000 Yoshino Cherry Trees that bloom in the middle of March for about 10 days. During this period, Macon is called the pinkest city in the world. At this time, Macon celebrates an event called the International Cherry Blossom Festival. Unfortunately, our visit was about a week too late to see the trees in bloom.
The history of the cherry trees began in 1949. A native of Macon, William A. Fickling, discovered a unique and unrecognized tree blooming in his yard. Later, while visiting Washington, D.CHe realized, seeing the same type of tree there, that it was a Yoshino Cherry Tree. He and his family began distributing the tree throughout Macon, and well, the rest is history!
Tradition has it that the tree symbolizes eternity and the blossom’s speak of renewal and new beginnings, and because of the blossom’s short duration, they represent the briefness of life on earth. It seems fitting that the death and resurrection of Christ is celebrated in the spring of each year. The death of Jesus was like a bitter winter storm to all those who were close to Him. But His resurrection three days later- when death gave way to life- was the awakening of Spring!
Can you imagine the response of the women coming to Christ’s tomb that early Sunday morning and finding His body missing? Then two men, probably angels, dressed in white, appeared and said, “why seek the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen” (Luke 24:5-6)
Many today are living in an endless wintertime, seemingly without hope. We have a message to share: Jesus Christ is alive! There is hope for change. Spring is here and all who put their trust in Christ will experience a new beginning! Jesus said, “because I live you also shall live.” (John 14:19).
This world is caught in the cold darkness of confusion and trouble. But because Jesus Christ arose from the dead, the Bible says “Therefore He is able to completely save those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:25)
So, dear friend, no matter the season you find yourself in, your life can be changed from winter to spring, through the living power of the resurrected Christ! This Easter can be a new beginning for you if you’ll join the millions of Christians who will be celebrating what Easter is truly all about. Let the Easter message come alive for you, as Death gives way to life!
Rev. Gueary Clendenning is the retired pastor of the Valparaiso Assembly of God.