John 12:24 “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.”
This is Jesus speaking of his upcoming death. We remember these events on the Thursday and Friday before Easter (Maundy Thursday and Good Friday). Far from being the end of the story, Jesus is explaining that his death will expand the story exponentially even as a single seed, over time, can be the source for a great field of grain or a forest of trees. The truth is that the impact of this death (and what followed) has reached down the centuries and across the globe to touch you and me. Death is often painful and sometimes tragic. But here Jesus assures us that in God’s hands death and suffering can have meaning; that they can lead to new life in our hearts and in our world. Understanding this may not ease the pain we experience as we feel the effects of death and suffering, but it does provide a foundation of hope and a basis for peace as we live through that pain. May we embrace the deaths we are called to face even as Jesus embraced his, trusting that God redeems suffering and loss in God’s own way and time.