Monday, June 10, 2019

Our Mortality and the Cherry blossom

When I read the morning Psalms and get to the following verse from Psalm 103, my attention intensifies.
As for man, his days are like the grass; he blossoms like a flower of the field; For the wind passes over it, it is gone, and will no longer know it’s place.
I am attentive because it brings me face to face with my mortality. It reminds me of the numerous times I was blessed to visit Japan during their cherry blossom festival. The cherry flower is very beautiful and it lasts for only a short time. When in bloom the people there take time off from their busy lives to gatherer under the numerous cherry trees and celebrate life. It is understood that the cherry blossom is a symbol of our life. It is beautiful, delicate and lasts for a very short time, only to be blown away in the breeze to never be known again. It reminds me that we Christians do not just celebrate life thinking it’s ends with our physical death, but we have joy knowing that, unlike the cherry blossom, there is a life beyond this life. Our life does not end.

The next verse of the Psalm reads,
But the mercy of the Lord is from age to age unto them that fear Him, and His righteousness is upon the sons of sons.
David is writing this Psalm to lift us up to the reality of our eternal life. He transforms the previous verse into one of joy and hope.

Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra writes on these verses,
Though his life on earth is tragic, man will live. God’s hands shall lovingly take up the dust of earth, and the fleeting and the finite will be wedded to the eternal and the infinite. The life that ends in death will be given new life, and that which appeared to vanish forever shall reappear in eternity...And because God will never cease to exist, the human person will also exist ‘from age to age’, so closely bound together are divinity and humanity.
This daily reminder of the cherry blossom, it’s beautiful but brief life, always awakens my soul and is immediately nurtured with the reminder of the life to come as the Psalm is read. This life to come, I am sure, will be a glorious life even more beautiful than the cherry blossoms, united with the glory of God, Christ Himself, in His Eternal Kingdom.

Ref: Psalms and the Life of Faith, by Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra, pp 287-289.

Ten Points for an Orthodox Way of Life

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