The Peacock, the Unicorn, and the Blessings of Easter

just_peacock

(All text and images on all posts copyright 2015 Barbara Bjelland)

“And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.” (1 John 2:25, RSV)

Eternal life is a new kind of life that begins now, and continues forever, as we are united with the triune God and with one another.

In the church calendar, the season of Easter lasts 50 days, and for Christians, the blessings of Easter last all year long.

When I was in elementary school, my father took our family to live in Mexico during his sabbatical year. We lived next door to wealthy art collectors, who also collected a menagerie of live animals, such as a deer, spider monkeys, peacocks and even for a short time, a cougar. The peacocks sat high on the wall between our yard and our neighbor’s estate. When the peacocks ventured down to see us, our golden retriever chased them into the swimming pool, collecting only a few jeweled feathers in his paws.

paw

We recently visited Minneapolis for a beautiful family wedding at Diamond Lake Lutheran Church. A relative asked me if I knew why there were peacocks depicted in the stained glass windows. I was excited to explain what I had learned through my studies related to the early church and Communion.

cropped_peacock_window

Images of the peacock can be found in catacombs and in early Christian churches. Male peacocks molt and lose their tail feathers every year, only to re-grow fuller and brighter plumes. Because of this, Christians used the peacock as a symbol of immortality and eternal life through Christ. (See 1 Cor. 15)

Note that after the resurrection, Christ still bears the nail prints in his hands–he shares in our sufferings.

I also had the opportunity to visit South Carolina over spring break. Early on Easter morning,  I rode my bike to a sunrise service at the beach. As the sun rose and warmed my face, the pastor said, “the resurrection of Christ changes everything.”

None of us can escape loss and pain and death. But because of Christ, we can grieve with hope (1 Thess. 4:13,14).

Because of Christ, we can find more enjoyment in the good things in life. We know love and beauty, good food and flowers, art and ice-skating, point us to God, and are gifts from him. Many of C.S. Lewis’ writings concern joy. He says the longing for God’s fullness itself brings joy, that one day will be fulfilled. One day we will stamp our foot on the ground of the new world, like the Unicorn in Lewis’ Narnia stories, and cry out,

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!” (C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle, chapter 15.)

Because of Christ’s work on the cross and in the grave, we can have new life, even in the places that are dead. My life has purpose and eternal significance.

I can experience God’s love and faithfulness new every morning (Lam. 3:22-24).

I can gather and feed on the “manna” that falls from heaven, like the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 16).

The resurrection of Christ makes all the difference in the world.daff

This is the blessing of Easter.

When the bluebells lift their tiny heads and the daffodils turn their golden faces to the sun, open your heart again to the warmth of God’s love. When you hear the rain softly falling, gather God’s streams of living water, and nourish your soul.

blue_flowers

(I took photo of daffodils while on a spring picnic on the grounds of Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, MI)

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Related Links:

(There are two peacocks in my inter-generational book, “Supper with the Savior: Communion in the Bible and Today. Here is the link to my book:

http://www.amazon.com/Supper-Savior-Communion-Bible-Today/dp/157383453X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429204186&sr=1-1&keywords=supper+with+the+savior

Note to picture book fans and parents and grandparents of young children:

For a lovely children’s picture book on spring things, by Sally Lloyd Jones (author of the Jesus Storybook Bible), see,

“Bunny’s First Spring,” on Amazon at:

http://www.amazon.com/Bunnys-First-Spring-Sally-Lloyd-Jones/dp/0310733863

To read more CS Lewis quotes, see: http://www.quotesquotations.com/narnia/the-last-battle-quotes.htm#ixzz3XUTP5373)

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