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.
In the grave they laid Him, Love Whom we had slain, Thinking that He’d never wake to life again, Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen: Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.
Up He sprang at Easter, like the risen grain, He that for three days in the grave had lain; Up from the dead my risen Lord is seen: Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.
When our hearts are saddened, grieving or in pain, By Your touch You 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.
First published in 1928, this hymn of John Macloed Campbell Crum uses John 12:24 as its source “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” (NRSV).
I struggle with hymns that compare the love of God to wheat. Like a growing number of people, wheat causes me a great deal of pain. Not being able to eat wheat can also make communion difficult. At times I might take the smallest crumb of bread, or make the decision not to take the risk and exclude myself from fully partaking in the Sacrament that everyone else around me is freely sharing in.
But there are times when living a Christian life can be incredibly painful too. Sometimes it could be so much easier to leave the pain behind and walk away from the demands and constraints which so often seem to be thrust onto us.
It really does hurt when the Church no longer seems safe because of the way someone has spoken to us or belittled our sense of worth and value. Mostly though it hurts both individuals and local churches to be holding on desperately to keep the mission of the Church alive and active even though it exhausts them and drains them.
We are, as Pope John Paul II once said, an “Easter people”. We also have to journey through the darkness of Good Friday, and spend time sitting with the pain and torment of Christian life, like the Saturday in the grave, before we too can be released from all that holds us back so that we can flourish again.
Loving God, As we consider all the demands of living a faithful life with you, help us to see the things we need to let go of, help us to find the worth of those things which invigorate us, help us to see the shoots of your love flourishing around us. You hold us through the darkness of uncertainty, You offer us an opportunity to let go of what holds us back. Make us brave again and continue to journey with us. Amen
John Grundy is an ordinand at Northern College in Manchester.
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