Winter over, it was recently time to purge the gardens for replanting — strip brittle bean vines and pull up dried tomato plants, uproot any remaining beets and harvest several ripe spaghetti squash.

What a surprise when, upon opening the greenhouse door, a pop of bright pink caught my attention. In the bed of what had been last summer’s home for a variety of tomatoes, I’d placed several of my potted porch plants when colder temperatures threatened. Though I knew they might not survive winter in the only slightly warmer confines of our geodesic dome, I relocated them there in November, promising to visit often and tend to their needs.

Unfortunately, I broke my promise by failing to return for quite some time. By mid-January when I finally did peek inside to see how my ferns and other plants were faring I found them quite brittle, nearly dead. I whispered an earnest apology before closing the door with another promise — to return in springtime.

And on a bright March morning having been beckoned out of doors by a song sparrow, I kept my oath and ventured inside. That’s when the sight of the blossoming Kalanchoe struck me, and I held my breath in wonder.

Life — brilliant and colorful — amid the reality of death. Though several other potted Kalanchoes were far from any hope of resuscitating, this one wasn’t only alive, but its fuchsia blossoms reached toward sunlight, lifted heavenward by green stems, much like arms lifted in praise. A sturdy succulent, this one endured, and its seeming resurrection reminded me of three gardens of long ago.

In the Garden of Eden, the brilliance of first life burst forth with a breath before offering praise to the Creator. Sadly, too soon sin separated, and nothing’s since been the same. Death threatens and is a reality. Broken promises lead to brokenness, and the cold of hardened hearts perpetuates pain.

Perhaps that’s why Jesus, just prior to His death, chose to pray, too, in a Garden — that He might redeem that which original sin tried to steal. There, among the olive trees of Gethsemane — where flowers flourished and foliage turned in season — our Savior surrendered. With a plea, He asked first that the cup of suffering might be taken from Him but concluded, “Not My will but Thine, O Lord” (Matthew 26:39).

So, hallelujah! Death was defeated, and the Garden tomb was left empty. Jesus had risen, and His love and faithfulness endure forever!

Like the little Kalanchoe, we can’t help but lift our arms in praise. We simply must breathe our thanks to the One who offers life — despite broken promises, no matter the season in which we find ourselves.

One can almost hear the Kalanchoe’s cry, and we join in saying, “He is risen …”

Yes, Christ is risen, indeed!

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