June 28, 2017

Annuals and Perennials

1 Corinthians 15:35-49

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable.

—  1 Corinthians 15:42

I came into gardening relatively late in life and had a lot to learn. I still struggle with differentiating between annual and perennial plants. Over the years, my wife has been patiently instructing me on which is which. Perhaps my confusion has something to do with the seeming vitality of both types of plants and the sad demise and death of the annual plants.

The book of 1 Corinthians was written, in part, to instruct confused Christians about the resurrection body. In some ways, the perishable body we have in this world could be compared to an annual plant—it fades and tragically dies. And the imperishable body promised in the new heaven and earth could be likened to a perennial—it lives on and on. However, according to this letter, the comparison breaks down. “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable.” An annual does not become a perennial—or could it? Recent research and experimentation reveal the genetics at work in annual and perennial plants. It seems that some genetic engineering can change an annual into a ­perennial.

If humans can change plants, surely God can change human bodies. The crucial transformation takes place in Christ’s death and resurrection. The bodies of all who follow him in life and death are planted like seeds—“natural bodies” and raised “spiritual bodies”!

Christ, you are our only hope in life and in death. Nurture our trust in you, that we may live with you forever. Amen.

About the author — Don Byker

Don Byker has been a pastor since 1984 in various churches and institutional settings. Don and his wife, Donna, are the parents of four adult children, two of whom are married. Donna and Don are also the glad grandparents of three granddaughters. Currently Don is serving in a rural church in Michigan full of gardeners.

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