The daffodils in our front yard are starting to bloom. Watching their bright yellow faces emerge is cause for celebration as they herald the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The bulbs were a gift from a neighbor who distributes them every year to those of us willing to do the work. The only stipulation is that we place them along the roadways so that everyone can enjoy them. Since they are among the few flowers that the deer leave untouched, yellow blossoms are now lighting up the neighborhood. Coinciding this year with the celebration of Easter, their blooms seem all the more significant. I recall placing the bulbs in the ground last fall. Their drab color and rough exterior didn’t seem capable of sprouting into such delicate flowers. Such planting is a supreme act of faith.
One of my Lenten practices this year included the cultivation of gratitude. I began the season in a bit of turmoil, unsure and anxious about some personal issues. To counteract those feelings, I decided to maintain a gratitude journal. Each entry seemed like the planting of a daffodil bulb – an act of trust in God’s creative power to bring something bright and beautiful out of my angst. Easter is now emerging in all of its grace-filled glory, reminding me of the power of life to overcome death, of light to emerge from the darkness, and the wonder of a flower to bloom in the midst of a desert.
Theologian Karl Barth once wrote about the link between grace and gratitude. They belong together, he said, like heaven and earth. “Grace evokes gratitude like the voice an echo. Gratitude follows grace like thunder lightening.” Easter may illustrate this better than anything else. Christ emerges from a frigid tomb, radiant with light and reflecting all of the gracefulness of God’s loving heart. What response could there be other than gratitude?
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