by Pastor Janice Sutter

In March, Dave and I traveled southwest to explore national parks, drinking in the beauty and gaining perspective as we marveled at God’s creation in those places. Without knowing what to expect, we entered Joshua Tree National Park in southern California, a park known for its boulder fields and Joshua trees, a distinctive type of yucca. Long ago, when travelling Mormons saw these trees in the distance, they thought the trees looked like Joshua welcoming them to the Promised Land.
Much of the land in this park lies in the overlap of two deserts: the Mojave and the Colorado. It’s a transition zone and home to diverse species of plants and animals found in both deserts. This spring they have had more water than usual.
As we drove deeper into the park, we noticed more and more wildflowers. Just a few gorgeous blooms at first, and then whole carpets of color! An unexpected gift! The desert was in bloom! A super bloom! An explosion of wildflowers that exceeds typical spring blooms.

As we talked to locals and the park rangers, we learned that the last time this desert had bloomed like this was in the 1940s. That is, some of these wildflower seeds hadn’t bloomed for 80 years. They lie dormant in the drought for years, being preserved, able to bloom when the time was right.
When these dormant seeds have the right combination of rain and warmth, they come to life again. They bloom! And this is what we took in: the desert in full glory blooming with color. Beauty everywhere! The conditions were right. Seeds that had been dormant for 80 years blossomed! A miracle!
The walk through the desert in Joshua Tree this March became a way for me to think about Easter. I don’t know how to explain what happened on that first Easter morning but I can see how conditions were right for the miracle of new life to burst forth! For the impossible possibilities of God to blossom!
Jesus gave his all for God’s mission. He remained true to himself and true to God’s way of nonviolent, active, self-giving love. Jesus gave his all, and that self-sacrificing love (his choice -- not forced on him) released something into the universe.
Conditions were right, enabling us to see evidence of the mighty power of God. God burst forth with the miracle of life, raising Christ from the dead. From Christ’s death came new life! God took what Jesus offered and released a super bloom!
By Jesus Christ’s self-giving love, God released, empowered, and raised up a whole community of people to carry on Jesus’ Way of self-giving love. The good news of Easter includes this: we can be part of God’s super bloom.