Cherry blossoms are a big deal in Japan. As spring progresses there is expectation in the air. Many across the country are waiting to see the trees erupt into full bloom. People travel the length and breadth of Japan for the simple purpose of getting the chance to soak up the wonder of nature. There is even a cherry blossom forecast estimating which date is likely to be the best for witnessing the spectacle.
I don’t know about you but I like to see the colours of the cherry blossoms cascading down from the branches at this time of year. And perhaps one of the reasons for this is the fact that it doesn’t last very long. This is why there is a great deal of hype in Japan. They recognise that there is a great lesson to learn from this event in nature.
So what is the lesson of the cherry blossom? And more importantly how does this make sense of our faith in Christ and the impact it should have in our daily lives? Well as noted the blossom from the tree is only here for a very short season. However, what it produces leaves a distinct impact. Our lives are similar in this respect. They are very short but the comforting thing is that they need not be unimportant. “All flesh is grass…..the grass fades and the flowers fade, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:6-8).
As Isaiah tells us, the reason that our short existence can have lasting meaning and purpose is found in our love for God by getting to know him better through his word. The bible is God’s voice continually reminding us that he alone is our saviour and Father, “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).
We all have a short life span; the only one who lasts forever is God. That is why as a church we must remember this crucial aspect. Our personal preferences and traditions will all pass out of existence, whether we want them to or not. In light of this it should drive us closer to God and to the gospel. In a world where things change rapidly his forgiveness and acceptance do not.
Something else we need to ask is this; how are we going to be remembered as a people of God where we find ourselves placed? My desire is that people will know us and remember the place where we worshiped as somewhere that they met with Jesus and experienced real forgiveness and restoration. How often do you gather together to pray for this to be the experience of your church and those who don’t know Christ? “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain” (Psalm 127:1).
Even though it has a short existence the cherry blossom flourishes and does not waste its existence. It produces good, bright and recognisable fruit. Will we?