I’ve always heard the old folks say you don’t plant your garden until Good Friday. So today is planting day. Nature screams life as the trees burst forth in buds. The mornings are still cool, but vibrant green colors dominate the landscape. Forty days ago, it was not so. The firm grip of winter still held creation, but this morning sings a different song.
The rows are ready to receive the summer fruits: tomatoes, peppers, okra, and squash. Today I will bury corn seeds in dirt as an act of worship, confident that life will soon burst. This holy reenactment draws my mind to other more excellent seeds sown in expectation.
First, how Joseph of Arimathea planted Eve’s Greater Seed. It was a hasty job, for sure, because of the Sabbath demands. No doubt, the disciples were not prepared. Just five days earlier, had not He entered as King into the King’s city? But now, the Light from Light seemed to be snuffed out. He did not despise the cup of suffering. It pleased the Father to crush him, and He willingly submitted himself to the penalty of sin. He who knew no sin became a sin offering for us. His beaten and broken body was buried on our behalf.
Second, how believers have followed suit. How many believers have followed their champion in death? How many have watched as their loved ones have been covered in soil and watered the grave with tears? Death’s wintry chill courses through this world and is felt in the bones of every man. Some bury Saints full of years; others meet death young and inexperienced. Some through martyrdom, others through miscarriage. Yet, all in hope. For Christ has been raised, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Last, how Christianity is a life of sowing. Every action, word, and deed is sowing seed. We sow in prayer, not seeing immediate growth but looking for an unshakable kingdom with expectation. We sow with kind words to neighbors and meals shared with friends. We sow in Sunday Schools and super markets. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, small but bursting with potential. It is advancing even today, with seeds sown by kings and paupers, businesswomen and housewives, doctors and custodians. Each week the ordinary means of grace are practiced all across our world. The word is preached; the bread and cup are consumed. We remember seeds planted because unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Oh, how we celebrate planting day! For how could he ascend if he does not first descend into death? One day soon, life will be found in a tomb. Death will find that the Son of Man can no longer be held. Christ lives now, and forevermore so confidently we plant our dead knowing that they will one day flower and fruit. Christ has snatched away death’s victory and openly triumphs over the principalities and powers of this world. As Wendell Berry suggests, we “practice resurrection” daily because, as slaves of Christ, we can do no other than to follow the example of our King.