In my front yard, like many of us St Louisans, I have a patch of daffodils, or jonquils, or whatever they might be. They are beautiful two toned yellow and white and are always the first to sprout up and bloom. It is not uncommon to see their dark green stalks poking up through the February snow and cold.
A few years ago, as we were grieving the loss of yet another pregnancy, those flowers were beginning to bloom and my wife Jennifer had received a prayer card that simply read “Hold Hope.” She placed it in front of those freshly blooming flowers and took a picture. The image of those flowers was a symbol of hope for us as we walked through our grief.
As we contemplate the end of Lent, the season in the church year where we too walk through a season of grief, we are called to remember Jesus death. But Jesus reminded the people again and again, that it would not be the end. He continually told them to “Hold Hope!” Jesus was doing something far greater than anyone would be able to understand.
As Jesus descended into the tomb, his family and his followers thought it was over. They had given up. They didn’t know what Easter Hope was, for there had not yet been an Easter. When the women returned to the tomb to tend to the body, what did they find? Who did they meet? An angel telling them that Jesus was not dead, that he is risen. The hope that flowered in their hearts, mixed with a torrent of other emotions, became the rallying cry for a movement. Jesus is Risen!
Fast forward two years after Jennifer took that picture of her prayer card in the flowers. It was then that God blessed us with a healthy baby girl. The promise of God was always with us that we had been called to Hold Hope. So, when it came time to name our daughter, we named her
Easter is a story of grief, of longing, of cold nights and even snow. But beyond that it is about how Hope flowers in the midst of our grief, how Hope holds us in the pale dawn light. Easter is about how God’s promise to save the world came just as the world was giving up.
Those daffodils in the front yard have become our “Hope Flowers.” Hope is flowering all over. I see Hope flowering in the life of our church members, in our community, in our families. This Easter, I encourage you to remember that Hope Flowers!