You can never tell what kind of discussion will pop up in an a room full of kids, but I should have known what today’s topic would be – after all – it is St. Patrick’s Day.
“Ouch,” one of my co-workers said.
“You’re not wearing green,” laughed a 5th grader.
“I am, too,” he replied. “Isn’t this green?” he asked me.
It was mint green. In fact, my shirt was also mint green, but no one messes with Miss Grandma. 20 minutes later – two smart phones “google”ing images of mint green, and the argument was still on-going.
Gotta love St. Patrick’s Day. Gotta love the Irish blood that flows through my veins. Gotta love spring.
When I got home, the forsythia was in full bloom. The yellow blossoms wide open and beckoned me closer. It is the smallest forsythia bush I have ever had the privilege of growing. I planted it in 2013, but it wasn’t happy in the first spot. Didn’t grow. Didn’t blossom. Didn’t thrive. So last year, I dug it out of the red clay. I loosened the dirt around its roots, and chose a new spot. I added new soil and mixed it with the denser dirt of our small plot of land. Today it smiled at me, and I smiled back. It was resurrected.
“Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.” Jn 11:1
Rabbi Yeshua had a good friend. His name was Lazarus. Most of you probably know this story. I know it was one of the first stories I ever heard. A man died. Buried for 4 days. Wrapped up like a mummy with tons of material binding him tightly. A big rock covering the entrance to the tomb. Sisters confused and in mourning. Jesus wept and then commanded. Stone rolled away. Lazarus walked out.
“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” Jn 11:4b
Many lessons are buried (so to speak) in this one story..patience …conquering fear…walking in faith…conquering death. Buried even deeper in this story is the foreshadowing of another path – one that the rabbi himself would soon walk – one that would bring forth an even greater miracle – one that still is overwhelming in its conceptualization – FORGIVENESS – GRACE – a path created by the sacrifice of a Son that would lead us back to the Father despite our sins.
I thought of that story today as I looked at the small forsythia bush. I thought about it again as I watched the sun set from our patio and watched the small bud coverings drop close by my feet. Spring brings the bright colors of the early flowers: tulips, daffodils, crocuses, forsythia. It brings the fuzzy buds of unfolding leaves, and the winter white softness of pussy willows. It brings the music of birds as they begin their mating journeys and nest building. It brings silly debates over the color of green. It brings resurrection. It brings GRACE. It makes Miss Grandma smile and send a prayer of thanks – over and over again.