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Daffodils - An Easter Sunday Reflection from Rev. Dr. Christy Newton

The year before my brother Stan tragically died — way too young — he spent tremendous energy and countless hours digging up and transplanting hundreds — no thousands — of daffodil bulbs into the field in front of our parents’ house. It was a labor of love that bordered on obsession. How many daffodil bulbs could he find on old home places and farms and replant into this one field? He was passionate; he was driven. 

After he died, time seemed to stand still. Life kept moving along, of course, but so much seemed fuzzy, unclear, disorienting. Grief almost swallowed us.    

Then, the next spring — almost spontaneously — sage green whiskers started poking up all over the field. Thousands of green spiky whiskers that suddenly burst into yellow blossom. Hundreds — no thousands — of daffodil blooms. And in witnessing this astonishing progression, something thawed and broke open in me. The grief that had gripped my spirit for so long loosened, and I felt real joy for the gift Stan had prepared, unwittingly, to remind us of the unrelenting promise of hope, renewal, restoration, resurrection. All this is available to us! And every year that passes, I watch as those daffodil bulbs continue to divide and multiply, increasing in number and creating an even greater testimony to the hope that will not die.  

Daffodils are just one way it happens: the natural world conspires all around us to teach us spiritual lessons and to guide us forward in the ways of hope, compassion, justice, and grace.  There is no doubt that brokenness surrounds us. There is no question that injustice is a daily reality. And each day, we have a choice: to succumb to despair or to lean into the hope that can help us find healing and a way forward. The biblical story teaches us that. And our own experiences teach us that. Connecting to the natural world allows us to experience divine revelation and resurrection firsthand.  

Like the beautiful Easter hymn by J.M.C. Crum reminds us: “Now the green blade rises from the buried grain, / Wheat that in the dark earth many years has lain; / Love lives again, that with the dead has been: / Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.” The gift of God’s creation — the natural world — can be our greatest teacher, opening us up to the ways we are completely dependent and interconnected with one another and all of creation. Nothing is separated and detached. We belong to one another, come what may.

So, today, as we celebrate the risen Christ — and the many ways that Christ rises all around us daily — I wonder if perhaps it is also time for you to burst into blossom and share your hope in our world that so desperately needs it.


Rev. Dr. Christy Newton is the Executive Director at DSF. She is an ordained Disciples minister and regularly leads retreats and teaches seminary courses in the areas of social ethics, leadership formation, spirituality, globalization, and culture. She is energized by practical and public theologies that insist on hospitality, justice, and compassion, and she is relentlessly inspired to help individuals and communities find ways to sustain their prophetic voices in a difficult and polarized world.


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