Spring inhabits the out-of-doors, pollen-yellow and noisy with bird-song, growing thicker and greener by the hour it seems, trees partaking of the fruit that brings knowledge of good and evil and putting forth frail coverings: “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself” (Gen. 3:10 ESV).
I’ve written my second American literature test, to be administered tomorrow. I read it and try to look through students’ eyes, feel their nakedness before the questions, imagine the leaves they’ll gather round themselves, wonder if I’ve made it too hard.
We had a rain-washed Easter, singing hymns with stringed instruments, windows open under the dripping eaves, little children splashing joyously: brightly-colored rubber boots in the dull mud puddles, towels to wipe mud off small, dark-eyed faces. Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes: “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
We fail the test every time, imagine we’re better prepared than that first, perfectly-formed man and wife, suppose ourselves capable of the firm “no” to the serpent dangling from the tree; we’ve reviewed our flash-cards, memorized the key passages, learned to define the terms. But when the question appears we draw a blank, only know grumbling hungry bellies, beautiful fruit that looks as though it could satisfy. Death.
They went to the tomb expecting to find the decaying fruit of the tree of judgment, but the stone was rolled away, the grave-clothes were empty, the embalming spices they carried suddenly unnecessary. Because One had taken the sentence of death and turned it inside out upon itself: I can’t put forth leaves to cover my nakedness, but He dresses me; I can’t produce a towel to clean my face, but He gives me His own face to wear. Life.
This is the fruit that silences grumbling bellies; this is the answer to that other fruit; and when He invites us to partake, we must eat or forever starve.
Spring resurrects the dead-brown world every year, but His resurrection is once for all, reaching back and reaching forward, covering even those fig-clothed figures in the first garden with grace.
We hear the sound of His coming, and we may spring to meet Him; there is nothing to fear.
©2013 by Stacy Nott