Spring is Coming
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24
The taste of warmer weather has us aching for springtime here at Camp Wyoming. It’s hard to remember the woods full of green leaves, vines, and life. Here in Iowa, we have the blessing (or sometimes, curse) of experiencing the extremes of each season. We long for the swimming pool during those hot and humid summer days in the sun. And we put on layer upon layer of clothing during the winter season of ice and frigid temperatures. Each fall, we watch the leaves turn vibrant colors before dropping to the ground. And each spring, we welcome the birth of new greenery and new life.
Our anxious waiting for spring brings to mind this cycle of seasons that we are all so familiar with. The leaves, grass, and flowers wither and die each fall, but they are always reborn in the spring. In the passage above, Jesus refers to this life cycle, but he draws our attention to the sacrifice of each individual seed. When it falls to the ground, the seed itself dies, but through its death, a new plant grows, and even more seeds are produced. In death, life is proliferated.
It might seem like in death, everything is lost. To the seed, all seems over. Think of Jesus and his own death on the cross. It was a moment of hopelessness. The tomb was sealed. The Savior was lost.
Things aren’t always as they appear, however. We look out our windows right now, and we see the brown and dreariness of winter, but we know the truth—spring is coming. The seed has died, but new life grows from its shell. Christ was buried, but after three days he was risen. The sun sets, but it rises anew each morning.
Jesus gives us the metaphor of the seed as he is introducing the disciples to the reality of his impending death. However, he also uses it to call them to give their own lives. Jesus isn’t asking us to follow him to spiritual death on a cross, but rather to die in Christ, to spiritually surrender our will, our hopes, and our dreams, and to rise again in the new life and calling of Jesus.
It can be hard to follow this call, just like the seed probably aches as it falls to the ground. However, our sacrifice is rewarded as we submit our will to the will of Christ and see God’s kingdom come on earth. We bring what little we have, just like the boy with his lunch of loaves and fishes, and we watch God turn it into an abundant feast. The seed dies, but in death, it produces many seeds.
This is the message of springtime. You might feel like you are only one person. You might feel like you could never give enough to make a difference. You might feel like the winter has been long and hope has been lost. However, when we give all that we have, when we lay our life down at the feet of Jesus, he will produce fruit and seeds like we could not have imagined. Just as the empty tomb on Sunday morning fills us with joy and reminds us of God’s power over death, so we rejoice at the work God is doing in our own lives. We take God’s joy and love and peace and surrender our lives so that even more can experience what we know—there is hope abundant. The darkness will not overcome the light. The winter is not forever. Jesus is alive. Spring is coming.