An Easter Message from Pr. Kris
Alleluia, Christ is risen! With the lilies in the sanctuary, the beautiful flowers adorning the cross, and some good warm weather in the last few days, it truly feels that spring has arrived! About a week ago, we planted a garden in the backyard of the parsonage, and we are eagerly awaiting the little green shoots that will sprout up from the ground. New growth of spring is familiar and well-worn imagery for resurrection throughout Christian storytelling from our own flowery cross on Sunday to the ancient words of the Bible (see Isaiah 61:11 which we read at Easter Vigil on Saturday). The plants, that seemed dead in the winter, rising again can remind us of Christ’s rising again from the tomb.
But while this new growth is beautiful and comforting, there’s another part of our garden that’s been holding more of my attention lately: our compost pile. I do have a vague understanding of the scientific explanations of how compost works (the right mix of nitrogen, carbon, and our local, friendly microorganisms), but honestly, it mostly seems like magic to me. Take weeds, sticks, leaves, kitchen scraps, and coffee grounds, pile them all together, and wait. Soon the mix begins to heat to the point that its steaming and everything turns to new, rich soil. It’s been fascinating to fill the bin to the brim and come back a few days later to a half-full pile whose heat you can feel standing above it.
I think compost is also fitting imagery for Easter—if a bit less conventionally beautiful than a lily. Here is this mix of living things that have truly died (unlike overwintering plants which are dormant but not dead), which come together to create the medium in which new life can grow. This has all the metaphoric elements of death and rebirth that green shoots from the ground do, but with some additional details that delight me. In compost, new life is created through bringing organisms together, and whether the disciples thousands of years ago, or here at CGS today Christ has brought us together as a people. Brought together, we get mixed up, react together, and create something new: a place that enriched, vibrant life can grow. Mixed up and combined, we generate a medium of fertile ground in which to live and grow: our church. That mixing is not always effortless—it takes some turning and things can get smelly—but the end result is priceless.
Today, I added the ashes from our Easter Vigil fire to the pile: the fire that lit the Paschal candle and warmed our storytellers. From the chemical point-of-view, I’ve really been needing some carbon-rich materials to balance out all the greenery. But I like to imagine that the stories that we shared with each other at Easter Vigil—about God, ourselves, and each other—are becoming a part of this magical mix too. That the soil which will emerge from the bottom of this pile will be infused with memories of resurrections across time and space, leading to another generation of rebirths in our own backyard. New life, born from this community coming together to share the story of our Savior. Christ is risen, indeed. Alleluia!
- Pastor Kristofer Rhude
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Christ the Good Shepherd
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