By: Matt Gordon
We hired a local company to come do our mulch. Normally this duty falls to me and features about 78 trips to the store for more and more mulch. I always think a couple bags will do, yet it is nowhere near enough. I hate doing the mulch, so it is great that the idea landed on my wife that hiring a company to do our mulch would be a good way to support the local economy.
And it will look really good. My wife will say “fresh.” She’ll say it just really freshens things up. Makes things new.
Funny how transporting a bunch of dirt to your house brings life.
Makes me think of spring, of Easter. This week is called the Passion Week. And it is complex. It is pain and sweat and love, all for the sake of making things new—a bunch of dirt bringing about life.
Jesus claims that he does what I cannot do for myself. Try as I might I always come up a bag or two short. I run to the store, get the precise thing I need, only to once again be lacking. Usually I do this through morality. I’ll leave off that bad habit and pick up this other good one. Sometimes I do it through improvement: an exercise or reading plan, some rigorous set of guidelines that will change everything. But it is never enough—the edges are exposed, the job left markedly unfinished.
And talk about dirty work. Mulch has a way of sticking to you, especially since I tend to mulch when it is 218 degrees outside. In the case of Jesus, it was sin that stuck. Mine and yours. He was staggered by the very weight of it, heaping sack upon sack of ugliness.
Yet he plodded on. Into town, up a hill, onto the cross. It was my sin that held him there, the song goes. Well, yes, that and nails. Long nails—four to nine inches—at a nexus of tendons and veins. Mulch can cut, as it rubs between hand and shovel. But not like thorns pressed into sweaty brow. Not like nails.
My back is tender after a day of mulching, but I’ve never known the pain of lashes.
Easter is complex; it is laden with symbol. At the heart of symbol is the cross. A vertical beam is stuck into the very ground. Just as an explorer “lays a stake” to claim a land, God staked the earth as his on that hill outside Jerusalem. The horizontal beam balances across the vertical, keeping it from toppling, a balance beam of sorts. This week, one walks that beam. The walk begins somberly—as one moves toward center along paths of sin, rejection, pain, and death. Yet on the other side of vertical beam is freedom from sin, redemption, renewal, hope, and eternity. Forever.
In the middle between these contrasting concepts is Jesus Christ—the slain lamb, the risen Savior, the conquering King. We pass through sin, beyond death, through him. We move from bitterness and pain and death to the celebratory wonder of forever fresh.
The smell of fresh mulch and a fresh looking lawn.
Makes me think of spring, of Easter. This week is called the Passion Week. And it is complex. It is pain and sweat and love, all for the sake of making things new—a bunch of dirt bringing about life. Beautiful new life.