Learning from lilies
In this season we are on the move; driving or driven. It is a hectic season. First, Thanksgiving last Thursday, then Black Friday immediately after, then Cyber Monday yesterday and today, Giving Tuesday and we will be moving until Christmas. Woven into all this hassle is the Season of Advent.
We are telling and writing our story in this season. This far we are already saying Black Friday proved that we – naturally – have an over production but lack the matching consumerism – retailers were disappointed because sales were 17% below last year’s record.
For some people this season reminds them of unhealed wounds and pains, broken relationships and scars from the past.
But, Advent is a season of light – lights actually. In the midst of the darkness of winter and, for some, dreary weather, there will be lights. It is a season that shows us the contrast between darkness and light.
I am thinking right now of one of our stories that Jesus told in Matthew 6:28-34 and illustrated with lilies.
We are all familiar with lilies – some of you may actually have some in your gardens; they are easy to grow. This is what I found out about lilies: a) “True lilies belong to the genus Lilium. They grow from bulbs made of fleshy, overlapping scales with no protective covering” b) “These hardy bulbs require only minimal care. Each has the capacity to grow eventually, into a large cluster of flowering stems” and c) “Large showy flowers develop at the tip of each stem. These flowers may be trumpet-shaped, bowl shaped, or bell shaped with reflexed petals. They may nod downwards, face outwards, or turn upwards – and they come in a wide variety of colors. Many are also delightfully fragrant”.
What a contrast: Their beginnings as unattractive fragile bulbs in dirty soil but with the capacity to grow into beauty.
As we are confronted with the darkness of prejudice and racism, mistrust and suspicion, and the failure of militarism to ensure peace, or the inequalities of our economic system, we are also reminded that, like the lilies, light transforms this darkness into beauty and fragrance.
Lord; bring light to our darkness and transform our hatred, mistrust, suspicion and self-service into love, reconciliation and our common well-being and that of our world. Look with compassion all those in affliction – of any kind. We lift up to you the following: