It’s transition time for my vegetable garden here in southern Arizona. It’s getting into the 90s in the afternoons, so I pre-emptively harvested all the lettuce in my garden (sharing a lot of it with various neighbors) and a huge batch of parsley, then dug out the various roots, dug in homegrown compost, and planted various seeds, along with some seedlings I’ve been nourishing in a south-facing window for a few months. I’ve still got some winter greens left over, so the garden is a mix of mature plants and potential new life that is just getting started.

This seems like an excellent metaphor for Eastertide. As I’ve mentioned before, too many of us act like Easter is over once the day itself has passed. But if we’re going to take the Easter message seriously, we have a lot of work to do to integrate the astounding realities of resurrection and new life into our souls.

That’s why I’ve decided to contemplate the growing of a Garden of the Heart during Eastertide this year. I’m not honestly certain how it will unfold, but I do have a series of words that I want to plant, like seeds, in the soil of this blog, then water and watch to see what happens. I invite you to watch with me and to ponder what new life you might wish to support and encourage in your own life during this Eastertide.

Two words for today are invitation and response. God is always inviting us into closer, deeper, more intimate relationship. We may not realize it as we go about our busy and distracted lives, but the power of resurrection and new life shows up in various ways, such as an unexpected spring flower (cacti in our yard are beginning to bloom) or a kind word offered into our parched day like welcome spring rain. How do we respond to those invitations to celebrate new life—or do we even notice them?

Resurrection is also a spiritual invitation—to believe the “impossible.” All Jesus’ followers had to suspend logic, in one way or another, in order to embrace the idea—and reality—of resurrection. Sometimes we do too. We don’t understand the mystery of resurrection, but we really don’t need to. Instead, we need to embrace the gift of another chance to follow Jesus, even into challenging times, even when we fear for our lives or think our hearts are about to break. Resurrection could be right around the corner!

What invitations has God recently placed in your life? How have you responded?

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