By JANICE SIX
Easter morning, pastors will proclaim from pulpits all across this land, “He is risen!” and in response congregants will exclaim, “He is risen indeed!” Alleluias that have laid dormant since Ash Wednesday will arise in response to the magnificent brass, timpani drums, and voices united in song. As the congregation stands to sing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” children of all ages, some infants and toddlers in arms, will process up the center aisle bearing fresh cut flowers, irises and daffodils, roses, and lilies, in a wide array of colors. My favorite are the wildflowers.
Plucked from a vacant lot or the ally on the other side of the gate, wildflowers are watered only as God sees fit, yet these hardy survivors keep coming back year after year. Adorned in bright yellow, rich purple, vibrant pink, and delicate white blooms, the wild ones grow side by side for a season. Eventually, the blossoms wither and fade. Turning to seed, the wild ones either fall where they are, or birds in flight carry them to fields far away, others are scattered by the wind. Regardless where they come to rest, the seeds of the wildflowers stake their claim, put down roots, take hold, and hide away for another year.
The flowering of the cross is a spectacular sight to behold. To see the bare wooden cross– once shrouded in black and viewed as an instrument of death–being transformed before our very eyes into a vivid symbol of hope and life everlasting, moves many to tears. On this one Sunday each year, the flowers speak for themselves and the good news for the wildflowers is that they are just as welcome to participate in the flowering of the cross as the fresh cut flowers that have been pampered and nurtured in well-tended gardens and greenhouses. All are welcome! Let us pray that the same can be said of Christ’s church on the most well attended Sunday of the year: All are welcome!
Janice Six is associate pastor of First Central Presbyterian Church