Sunflower Seeds

He shall be great to the ends of the earth.

Micah 5:4
As we approach Good Friday and Easter, our minds are on the One whose fame was limited to a small geographic area and to one people. Jesus, who died, was little known in his day, but after his resurrection he became known among all the nations of the earth.
Jesus was not ignorant of what was going to happen to him. Knowing of his death and resurrection, he gave his disciples hope with these words:
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
 John 12:24
Obviously Jesus was talking about grain when he said this. But my mind wanders in the direction of flowers—specifically sunflowers. We're all familiar with what sunflower seeds look like and taste like. They're used for oil, and also for are thought of for their beauty. Today we're also aware that the sunflower is a national symbol of Ukraine. 
When Christians faith death and destruction, when we face what seems to be the end, Jesus ever reminds us that we cannot separate death from new life. Just as a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, or a sunflower seed is planted in the ground and is transformed, a people brought down by violence still has hope. Jesus rose again that we, too, might know life in its fullness and life in its newness.
Even when surrounded by death, we are in life; in the midst of war, we are possessed by peace; and when facing despair, Christ plants hope in our hearts.
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness joy. 
O divine Master, 
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved. as to love. 
For it is in giving that we receive;
and it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. 
 Anon. prayer inspired by Francis of Assisi
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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Text selection ©2021 Evangelische Brüder-Unität. All scripture quotations from the New Revised Standard Version, unless otherwise noted.