Few plants are more illustrative of the Easter season than bulbs. Among them all, few bulbs have created more passion than tulips. Tulips, you know, emerge from beneath the earth, where they are hidden in the fall of the year, to clothe themselves in glorious life during the spring. This is the great pleasure that a gardener has when he puts a bulb in the ground. He forgets it. Almost as if it had died to him and he to it, it passes from memory. But in the spring, in the Easter Season, it emerges. Just like in the Resurrection. Yes, when mankind looks on death, he has a primordial hope that death will not have the final say; and when the Resurrection comes, somewhere deep in his psyche, he perceives it will be glorious. The bloom of tulips in the spring are living pictures of man’s hope.
Just a single example-my older daughter Anna, then five years old, was in the car with us as my wife and I were driving along Starr Avenue one Sunday morning. We stopped at the light right there at Clark Boulevard where it dead-ends at Christ Episcopal Church. It was a beautiful spring morning as we waited for the light to turn green, and Robert Rogers (former head of SFA grounds) had planted tulips there on the boulevard in a great mass of color. They were absolutely perfect in every way. At the sight of them, my sweet little daughter gasped with delight. At that very moment, my daughter saw something more beautiful than she had ever seen before. The sight of those tulips literally took her breath away. That bit of gardening reached right down into her psyche and satisfied a need for beauty that she didn’t even know she had.
Somehow, I think the Resurrection will be like that. This drab world will be changed (much like winter turns to glorious spring and summer). Is the beauty of a blooming tulip a parable, a cipher for the Resurrection? Is there something so beautiful coming that, when we finally see it, we will gasp at its beauty?
I hope this Easter weekend you get out in the garden or drive about town to see the bulbs blooming- new life emerging. When the gardener laid the bulbs into the earth months ago, he did it in hope. We, too, when we lay our loved ones down, do it in hope as well.