A moment of bright sunshine this morning drew me out into the garden, and into my summerhouse, virtually unvisited all winter. I found a bunch of seedheads which I had left to dry at the end of the autumn. No hint of petals now – they are dried and skeletal, although still beautiful in their architectural shape. Their small black seeds are ready to be released, ready to go back into the earth. Ready to be buried to await the time when they will be transformed, and push up from the dark soil, growing fresh and green into a whole new beginning.
As we gathered for the funeral of my father-in-law this week seeds were a theme there too. One of the readings contained these words
“We do have a parallel experience in gardening. You plant a “dead” seed; soon there is a flourishing plant. There is no visual likeness between seed and plant. What we plant in the soil and what grows out of it don’t look anything alike. The dead body that we bury in the ground and the resurrection body that comes from it will be dramatically different…. The corpse that’s planted is no beauty, but when it’s raised, it’s glorious. Put in the ground weak, it comes up powerful. The seed sown is natural; the seed grown is supernatural—same seed, same body, but what a difference from when it goes down in physical mortality to when it is raised up in spiritual immortality!
Then the saying will come true:
Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?”
(fromThe Message – 1 Corinthians ch 15)
What ever your personal spiritual beliefs about life beyond death, for me I only have to look around, at the power of the regenerating life of the natural world, to be convinced that death does not have the last word.