The Grass Withers

Written by Katie Hoerster, Associate Pastor, Pinehurst UMC, Pinehurst, NC

Trees with light coming through. A Voice in the Wilderness

Isaiah 40:1-11

Comfort the people by telling them they are grass? What kind of God tells a prophet to comfort God’s people, saying, “All flesh is grass; their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers; the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass.”? Where is the comfort in being grass, prone to wither and die?

To some, this may not be very comforting at all. Most people don’t like to dwell on the fact that we are going to die. In fact, much of our society today pathologizes, avoids, and ignores death to the best of our ability. To others, it IS a comfort that they will not be remembered long after they die, when so many celebrities or political leaders often get remembered only for their worst mistakes or the tragic way they died.

Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent remind us, yes, we are grass, and one day, we will die. But the comfort in being grass comes from knowing whose grass it is- the Gardener’s. This Gardener created all things. This Gardener will someday gather us around the tree of life. This Gardener is The Lord, the Good Shepherd, the One who has died, is risen, and will come again.

Lent is a time to pause. Stop! Look around. Have you noticed? Are you paying attention? Things are not as they should be. There is difficulty, sin, pain, and darkness.  In the winter here in Pinehurst, we see our grass wither, going dormant until the spring. But people do not go dormant. We die. The Good News is that God is the business of death and resurrection! God does not take things that are broken and cobble them back together. God does not settle for things dying! They die. But they are raised to life again. We are raised to life again. God is in the business of making things as they should be, when sin has broken and twisted them into how they should not be. In the face of darkness and pain, we have a very real comfort in the death and resurrection of our Savior, who conquered all sin and all death and all darkness.

We are surrounded by hardship, suffering, and grief, yet we are called to witness to the persistent joy that sustains our life as God’s people. After every Good Friday, there is an Easter Sunday- after every cross, there is an empty tomb- after every disappointment in this life, there is a God who is making all things new. The grass withers; the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.


A Voice in the Wilderness: Lent 2024

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