"Blades of Glory"
By Linda Henley
"Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain."
John MacCleod Campbell Crum (1872-1958), an Anglican priest, wrote "Now the Green Blade Riseth" in 1928, the same year he became the Canon of Canterbury. He likened the crucified Jesus to sprouting grain, and a symbol of Jesus as our bread of life. t's based on John 12:24: "Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed. But, if it dies it produces many seeds." The hymn was written with a deep sense of wonder at the power of God in creation. It is set to the tune of the French Carol, "Noel Nouvelet".
We are old pros at resurrection. It happens every spring, yet the beauty of it always catches us by surprise! We look longingly into the dark earth and wait for some hint that life remains. Often, we forget what's planted in a particular spot and gasp when an unexpected gift stubbornly pushes its little head through the soil. Yes, we know about resurrection.
No place served as a witness to it more than fourth floor at Haywood Regional Medical Center where I was a Chaplain. The West wing was ICU. The East wing was the Baby Nursery. Standing at the elevators one felt like Janus, the two headed God of abstract dualities. At one moment Brahms lullaby would play for the birth of a baby, but soon the overhead speaker would sound three chimes, which signaled there had been a death at the other end of the hall. We lived those cycles daily.
Eastertide reminds us of the long stretches that seem dead and forlorn. Yet, miraculously, spring returns and everything makes its way out of the dark. The green blades begin to rise and fill the world with hope. The resurrection fern that lies dormant on the graceful branches of the live oak trees spring to life at the first rain. Seeds from the damp earth send shoots of joy and restore spirits that have lain in death too long. Bulbs suddenly become flowers and seeds sprout into fruit trees. Redbuds, dogwoods, flowering cherries, Bradford pears all dance in unison. And we crawl out of our tombs of despair and isolation, turning our faces to the sun. All of nature knows without explanation that death is the entry point to new life!
As we look on our days and our times of unknowing, an ancient Jewish saying from the Talmud comes to mind: " Every blade of grass has its own angel bending over it, whispering, "Grow, Grow!" I don't know about you, but I believe we all have one that whispers to us and leads us into the light.
"Love lives again, that with the dead has been: Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.”