Around here, people regularly recommend that heading over to the Filoli Gardens in Springtime—In the meadow there, there are literally millions of daffodils, all yellow and white—and a path that allows you to walk through them. The trees are in bloom with pink blossoms. Sunshine, birds, bees and gentle breezes. It is like the celebration of Easter Sunday has broken out in the world in all its glory. It’s joyful and abundant and generous!
It shouts Alleluia,Christ is Risen!
When I went there, though, I was reminded of another daffodil… a single flower that I carry in my heart. This daffodil is one that bloomed each February in the center of my brown dead lawn every February. It was in Queens NY, where it was still bitterly cold, where winter was so long that it felt like it would never end. And then, this single small flower would appear and stand amidst the frosty dirt as a reminder that winter would soon be over and spring would begin again. I don’t know who planted it…it was the only flower in the entire yard. But it bloomed every year…always poking its head up in a moment when I was pretty sure that winter would win and my toes would never thaw. For me, that daffodil is like Easter.
It is Jesus in this morning’s Gospel saying: “Do not be afraid; go and tell them that they will see me.”
Do you hear the difference? This Easter Sunday as we gather together to celebrate that death has been vanquished, that God’s love has reached past the grave to gather us together, we are like that field of daffodils…we are a celebration of Easter Sunday. We are a shout of joy that affirms that a great and wondrous thing has occurred—and that the whole world is loved and known by God. This celebration, this rejoicing will last all the way until Pentecost, fifty days from now. And of course, we celebrate Easter here every Sunday of the year—every Sunday is a small Easter, a small celebration of the countless ways that God loves us.
The single daffodil though is Easter itself… It is the Easter that appears on the coldest and hardest days in the world, a single bloom that reminds everyone that darkness can be vanquished, that death is not victorious, that the story has not ended. That kind of Easter, the being Easter rather than celebrating Easter happens every day all year long. It is the work of all of us who know the love of God.
When we sit down next to someone who mourns, someone who is stricken by grief, we are a single daffodil, that bright spot of Easter.
- When we are the voice that calls for justice, in a world that says not everybody is important…
- When we are the hand that reaches out to a hand to someone in an offer of help and of care…
- When we advocate love and understanding in world divided by hatred and confusion…
Those are the days that we are the daffodil, God’s gift of hope in a world that is sometimes cold, dark, defeated, angry. We are the reminder that there is a God that ensures that life overcomes death and that love overcomes hate. Every single time.
Today, we celebrate Easter as a community and tomorrow we must take Easter with us into the world, to remind that world that love wins every time, that the story isn’t over until the love of God has broken down every barrier, softened what is hard, warmed what is cold and picked up what has been tossed down.
Now…celebrate Easter. Shout with joy. Sing with gladness. Let us shout all the alleluias!
Then let us go and be Easter wherever we find ourselves…reassuring the world that Holiness is always present and that the darkness will not win. Tell the Easter story: God is love and God is here and God loves each of us. Be the daffodil that stands up in the world, then come back next Sunday to be fed and to celebrate Easter again and again.
Preached by the Ven. Hailey Mckeefry Delmas, Archdeacon of the Diocese of California, at Church of the Epiphany San Carlos, CA on Easter Sunday, April 10, 2023.