Darkness grows to life

Elizabeth Gray-King gives an Easter hymn reflection for April.

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

In the grave they laid him, Love whom we had slain,
thinking that he never would awake again,
laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain,
he that for the three days in the grave had lain,
quick from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
then your touch can call us back to life again,
fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

M. C. Crum(1872-1958) altd.*
© Oxford University Press from the Oxford Book of Carols.
Also: Junior Praise (174) and Rejoice and Sing (243)

This is my ultimate Easter Hymn. Forgive me, because its imagery is certainly northern hemisphere, but the imagery is what touches me.  Love is slain, then hidden, then rises as if new grain.  This is the mega, the overarching Easter message.  Not simply that Jesus rose again, but that all of what Jesus represented, was, pointed to – everything Jesus ever meant and will mean – all of thatrose again.  Yet, with that larger than life message, the hymnwriter brings it all to personal intimacy in the last verse.  This love, larger in message than the incarnated and resurrected Jesus, comes into our individual hearts.  This Love, larger than life itself, comes to our personal grief, pain, barrenness, and dormancy and plants Love within rich ground to help each of us to live again.

This is a powerful set of words telling us the Easter truth in short, elegant, complex phrases.  Then it seamlessly moves from the macro story for the whole world to the micro story of the individual.  I have seldom seen an Easter hymn which includes our human experience as something good and worthy to be touched, as compared human nature as unworthy which ought to be very grateful. To me, this is a Gospel hymn of expansively gracious good news.

Many years ago, during a personally reflective time, I painted a triptych called Darkness is as Light to You. The last panel is the risen grain, the imagery rising in me from this hymn.  It remains a powerful Easter message for me.