The Blooming of Grace

In The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot famously wrote:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

" Lilac " by  Jamie Holly  is a Creative Commons image, licensed under  CC BY-SA 2.0

"Lilac" by Jamie Holly is a Creative Commons image, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Eliot was a bit of a pessimist.

Not that he didn't have good reason. At the time he wrote this poem, Europe was indeed a wasteland, wrecked by four years of senseless war, ravaging disease, and a pretty serious existential crisis. The blooming of lilacs with the spring rain one could easily interpret as a form of mockery.

For many in our world today, the beauty of springtime can still seem to be mocking them. For some, the story of Christ’s resurrection is equally unbelievable. When one’s life has been torn by war, senseless violence, displacement, discrimination, hunger, or illness, how can one hear that story without at least some skepticism, or even bitterness?

As Easter people, as ministers of reconciliation, as agents of shalom, our task is to make resurrection believable. We can’t do this through persuasive arguments or a strong PR campaign, but only by living lives of grace. We must model hope, joy, and peace for those who do not have these attributes and don’t know where to go to get them. We must continually invite people to the well of faith and love, and hand them a bucket if they don’t have one of their own.

The church, even after all its missteps throughout history, is still a community of much love and great promise. As the spring rains of April awaken the dull roots, may the refreshing rain of resurrection make grace blossom in our lives so that the world will see the beauty and wonder of God’s all-inclusive love that, whether we’re able to believe it or not, makes all things new.