planting resurrection trees for Easter morning


 “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Blessed Resurrection Morning!

IMG_1142-001Rebekah and I have a tradition over the Easter weekend. We started this back in Pensacola, and we’ve found it’s a beautiful way to deal with the angst of the crucifixion while at the same time preparing our hearts for Easter morning.

Every Good Friday, or Holy Saturday, we plant something in our garden in honor of someone who has died during the previous year. Consequently, Maul-Hall Pensacola, Maul-Hall Brandon, and now Maul-Hall Wake Forest, have beautiful trees, shrubs, and other plantings that were lovingly chosen, planted, and nurtured in memory of loved ones.

This year we worked hard on a number of projects – and what a wonderful way to spend my 60th birthday! Saturday was a beautiful, cool, North Carolina spring day, and – among the more than 25 holes that were dug, prepped, and filled with plants and trees – Rebekah and I put in three beautiful Japanese Maples, two of which came from Larry and Robin Roper.

Myrt’s tree

TREES FOR PARENTS: The first, placed amidst the azaleas and pines that crowd our front garden, was planted for Myrt Hubbard Alexander, who passed away this past summer after living an amazing witness (you can read about Rebekah’s step-mom at The Grace of a Great Story). Myrt bloomed her heart out her entire life, gracing the community of Apopka in Central Florida with her signal talents and unique charms.

Then, in our “secret garden” behind the house, we planted gorgeous Japanese Maple trees for Rebekah’s mama, Nelle (who died in 1999), and her dad, Bob (who passed away in 2007). One tree has an unusual “corkscrew” trunk, with cascading “waterfall” branches. The other has a distinctive purple-ish hue, and a perfectly balanced profile. It’s going to fill in the corner of the garden beautifully.

The Bob Alexander maple

PLANTING IS GOOD THEOLOGY: We worked really hard, and for most of the day. But the result of all that effort is – maybe for the first time since we arrived here – a clear beginning in terms of creating a garden that reflects both our personalities and what’s possible in a state that is still somewhat of a mystery when it comes to understanding exactly how we should tend our garden.

Easter morning is all about the explosion of new life and fresh growth that is possible only in the context of Christ’s resurrection story – a fact that launched not only a revolution, but what I like to call, “The Second Week of Creation.”

You see, when Jesus defeated death he didn’t come “back” to life… he was born “forward” into a new kind of life. Paul refers to Jesus as “the second Adam,” because – in resurrection – he was the firstborn of the new creation.

 “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

IMG_1160 (1)-001
The front garden

Brand new life. Life that was first revealed to Christ’s friends in a garden. Life that is ours. Life that is something far more revolutionary than the “coming back to life” miracle that happened to Lazarus.

So we plant; we honor and remember those we love and have loved; and we will spend this Easter morning with our friends at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church, celebrating the amazing reality of what Christ has done… what Christ is doing.

Amen, and Amen! – DEREK



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