He knew it all along

Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (John 18:11)

We often consider the unfair treatment Jesus suffered. He was mocked, beaten, ridiculed, spat upon, struck, blindfolded, stripped, beaten, humiliated (Isaiah 53:1-12; Acts 8:32; 1 Peter 2:19-23). All this, before he was nailed to a cross and hung up to die.

He who created man and placed him in a Garden of paradise and showered him with blessings, found himself in a Garden of sorrow, showered with bloody sweat. Continue reading “He knew it all along”

And after that …

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

There was a film star who supposedly declared, on being told of her imminent death: “I always thought an exception would be made in my case.” Of course there are no exceptions; to be human is to be mortal.

Samuel Johnston once declared that the prospect of one’s own imminent death “wonderfully concentrates the mind.” Continue reading “And after that …”

Going, going, gone!

Drawn Swords, Blueberry Tart, Xanthippe’s Halo. These are part of the now nonexistent collection for which I still wistfully keep records. It might be the horticultural equivalent of an obituary column, where we mourn the passing of loved ones. I might replace some of them, but for now they are simply fond memories.

Every gardener has her list of failures, and mine gets longer every year. This year it was my seven-foot tall brugmansia that succumbed to a very hard frost. Even in the garage, it was too cold for this favorite to stay alive. One day it was full of blooms, filling the garage with the most wonderful fragrance; the next day the whole tree was brown and limp. Continue reading “Going, going, gone!”

The greatest comeback of all time

“He will be raised on the third day” (Matthew 17:23).

Last Sunday (2/5/17), the New England Patriots mustered the greatest comeback victory in Super Bowl history. They were down 25 points late in the game, but rallied to score 31 straight points to win 34-28 in overtime.

When a team cannot be held down and refuses to lose, you can’t help but be inspired.

But no comeback in history was greater than Jesus’. Continue reading “The greatest comeback of all time”

I have one more river to cross

For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

What does Christianity have to say about death? Does the Bible have anything to say that will help us in this, the most characteristic human factor of all, our mortality.

Generation after generation has had to deal with the implications of death’s certainty. In Greek mythology the dead crossed the River Styx, a dreary, poisonous river that ran between the living and Hades. Whoever crossed had to pay Charon, a boatman who ferried people across.

It was, we must emphasize, a one-way ticket! Continue reading “I have one more river to cross”

Little Red Riding Hood – an obituary

“Little Red” was parked yesterday in her favorite spot, where she can photobomb any garden pictures along the path in the front corner garden.

This car won’t look as good as she did in the photo from 5 years ago, now that her paint is peeling. We thought about getting her a new coat of paint. But since she just passed the 333,333 mark on her odometer, it didn’t seem wise. Continue reading “Little Red Riding Hood – an obituary”

Death, taxes, and blueberries

How can you put a price on fresh blueberries from your own garden? And yet, a local nursery specializing in native plants does just that. And it’s quite high — the Yard Boy said it was $35.00.

As he and I stood over the dead stick that is now sticking up out of the ground chiding us with its barrenness, we wondered why we would spend so much money. Worse yet, we neglected to put sulfur on these plants as they grew weaker and weaker over the past year. The leaves were showing signs of needing more acidity in the soil, but we just never got around to applying it. One is still alive and putting out blossoms, the other is beyond hope. Continue reading “Death, taxes, and blueberries”

The only real choice we have

A hopeless philosopher once wrote that the only real choice we have is to kill ourselves or not. This is a philosophy of despair.

Albert Camus believed that life is absurd and makes no sense. As an atheist, he saw the contradictions and suffering. Still, he clung to the will to live, a philosophical version of the shallow sentiment of the song, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

In one sense, however, Camus was exactly right. The only real choice is to embrace death or cling to life. But for those who believe in Jesus Christ, the apparently simple choice holds a paradox. Continue reading “The only real choice we have”

The Christian who dies

“For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better”  (Philippians 1:21-23).

What does Christianity have to say about death? Does the Bible have anything to say that will help us in this, the most characteristic human factor of all, our mortality? Continue reading “The Christian who dies”