No one plants a garden in January. No one living in Kentucky anyway. Reasonable people don’t put on their swimsuits and go for a dip in the dead of winter. Those kinds of activities only make sense during certain parts of the year. To do them in the wrong season is fruitless, frustrating, and possibly dangerous. Once, when I was 14, I walked out on a pond that I thought was frozen. It was frozen alright, just not quite as solid as I was hoping and I went for an unwelcome, frigid swim. Walking back home was miserable. If my house hadn’t been so close it might have been life threatening.
Seasons matter. They provide the needed climate and conditions to support a particular kind of life. Up to this point, my examples have been mostly in a negative context but I would like to flip that in view of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead. comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the beginning of a new and permanent season. In a very real way winter and death have lost their icy grip. Jesus is the ‘firstfruits’ with the implications being that there will be more to follow.
I grew up on a strawberry farm and one of the best days of the year was when I would walk the rows filled with dark green plants and suddenly stumble upon the first ripe berry. It was exciting because there is nothing like a strawberry grown in real dirt just outside your house. There is nothing like that flavor. Store-bought fruit can’t compare. But the real excitement is rooted in the fact that I was standing in a five-acre field that was right on the edge of being ripe, ready.
We are living in that moment right now. All of creation is thawing from permanent winter. Which begs the question – what should we do? What should we plant? What is possible that we thought was impossible?