|Harbinger: “Something that foreshadows a future event; something that gives an anticipatory sign of what is to come.” (Merriam Webster online)
Over the last few days, the canopies of our ornamental pear trees in north Texas have exploded with white blossoms. Driving through my town of Plano is visually stimulating because we now have thousands of these trees in our landscape. The transformation from cold, grey, and dormant to green and white has occurred almost overnight.
Not everyone is happy about it. Those “in the know” are aware of the fact that these trees are not recommended by arborists for a number of reasons, including weak limbs and short lives. That said, they are stunningly beautiful, and they are always the first harbingers of spring. I appreciate both the beauty of those extraordinary white flowers and their indisputable prophecy that the whole earth is about to explode into a myriad of colors.
A friend of mine who made his living as an investor once expressed his skepticism about the resurrection: “If you were a betting man, you wouldn’t take that bet. The odds would be against you.” Fair enough. But I would put it a little differently. Would you be willing to bet that the ornamental pears will paint our landscape with white blossoms this year? Would you be willing to bet that spring is inevitable, bringing with it the rebirthing of a verdant earth whose beauty and vitality boggles the human mind? Would you be willing to bet that the seed buried in the cold, dark earth is now preparing to rise?
The best way for me to understand the resurrection is to observe the way in which it is revealed in the natural world. It is a wonder and a mystery that can be neither explained or denied. It surely reflects the mind of a loving creator whose design and intent for the earth was continuous renewal.
That’s a bet I would be willing to take.
Rev. Don Underwood