Monday, April 22, 2013

Lessons from the flowers

One of Beve's 'must-see' TV programs is "Sunday morning" with (now) Charles Osgood. He tapes it so we can watch it at our leisure, and we always get something thought-provoking from it. Yesterday, along with the myriad stories about Boston, was a story about plants. At the time, I thought it was a throw-away segment squeezed in between stories far more interesting. But this morning, as I sat out on our deck in the glorious spring sun on deck furniture pulled from the shed yesterday, it began to haunt me. Profoundly.

It was about plants. Flowers. So I just re-watched it, and took enough notes that you'd think I was a college student studying for a biology test. "How do they know when to bloom?" is the question plant biologists have long studied. And this is what they've learned.  Because plants are rooted, they actually have a more complex biology than mammals. They don't have the luxury of movement in order to grow and have sensory experiences. For plants, those experiences are what make them so complexly amazing and beautiful--they feel when they've been stepped on or cut, smell a sick plant beside them (and are infected by that sickness) and see (but do not hear, no matter what folk-lore you've heard about talking to your plants). In fact, their visual receptors are far more complex than humans. If they could think, they'd think us 'color-challenged.' We have about 4 or 5 color receptors. They have 13.

But to answer the basic question of how they know when to bloom, flowers see light. They instinctively know when days grow longer and nights grow shorter.  And they move toward the light.

The analogy, of course, is a simple one. We who are in Christ are meant to be rooted. Though we are physically able to walk and talk and think and feel emotion, it's our rootedness in Him that is the most important thing about us. Seondly, it's in this rootedness, it's our receptivity to Him that allows us to see more than the world, which only sees the visible. We see the invisible where Christ is (see Colossians 3: 1-4) and in seeing Him, focusing on Him, all the colors of His creation are brighter, bolder and more visible as well, because we see as He does--with greater range and complexity. Thirdly, as His followers, we bloom, flower, surge into His likeness because we see the Light. We know the difference between darkness and  Light.  We know that the True Light has come into the World and the world--and darkness--cannot overcome it.

How's that for a lesson from the flowers?

Now, to press it home, here are a few pictures from our garden.


M said...

Well, flowers over here are sure taking their time with that blooming thing! But maybe it's because they're Finnish flowers. Finns seem to be allergic to light and Light equally.

Gorgeous garden, by the way.

E said...

Wow, I had no idea that plants could feel so much. Crazy.

Pamela M. Steiner said...

What a beautiful analogy! I will never look at my blooming plants the same way again! I am enjoying all the new growth taking place in our yard right now, and I love having this thought...the bloom when they can see the Light...and so do we. Yes, I love this. thank you. Now, let us start blooming!!!