Like one of these

Intricate simplicity: a single flower as a call to serenity.  Keukenhof, the Netherlands, March 2007

Intricate simplicity: a single flower is a call to serenity. Keukenhof, Netherlands, March 2007

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”Jesus Christ (as quoted in Matthew 6:28-29, NIV)

I grew up hearing this verse, and always thought it beautiful.  The words bring to mind a large field of flowers, but notice the phrase “like one of these” (emphasis mine).  Some might say it was hyperbole for Jesus to claim that one of the richest men in history had no adornment to equal that of a single flower, but I think the words are also true in a literal sense.  There is nothing made with human hands that can match the unique beauty of one perfect bloom.

This statement relates to the beauty of nature, certainly, but Jesus was also saying something about simplicity.  In the context of the surrounding text, it becomes clear that he is teaching about the futility of worry, and the importance of faith in the face of being distracted by real and valid concerns: food, clothing, longevity.

This implies the obvious question: if even our most basic needs are no cause for worry, what does this say about the countless details I tend to fret about each day?  Today, as I rush about attending to trivial distractions, I hope I can remember to focus on what Jesus said about the perfection of an ordinary flower, a gift of pure grace.

One year ago today:

Simple, natural, plain

And speaking of lovely flowers, here’s one of the photos Raynard sent me from the Philadelphia Flower Show.  Because it was emailed, the file size is a bit small to have a lot of detail, but it will give you an idea of what beautiful blooms he saw:

Raynard took this photo at the Philadelphia Flower Show this week.

Raynard took this photo at the Philadelphia Flower Show this week.

19 Comments

  1. Julia, good morning. Yes, I would like one of the lilies! 🙂
    This verse is also one of my favorite scriptures. And one I’ve heard all my life…to not be concern about the future… Our Father cares about our well being…
    I tend to fret about the out come of things.~/

    • Merry, that makes at least two of us…and probably more like two million! For the past year I have been FORCED to completely trust in God to take care of everything; it has been the only way to stay sane (I hope it’s working 🙂 ) and it’s a lesson I hope I keep with me in calmer seas, whenever we find them.

  2. Nature’s perfectionism is a reflection of it’s simplicity. She keeps it simple and still amuses us.

    • Yes, I wish I could master the same skill! 🙂

  3. raynard

    Julia, by now you should of receive the pictures.( Google doesnt make things easy and I had to “go dinasoar using my digital camera how passe). If I can find the time and motivation to”buy a plant for my patio and not forget it’s out there”.( maybe I will squeeze that trip in this year to the Dupont mansion and gardens( being it’s right next door to my job go figure lol) When speaking to people especially young people, I find the simplest way without”a long drawn out lecture.( their attention span is only 0- 60 anyway just like “mine use to be lol. be blessed

    • Raynard, I got the photos and really enjoyed them! Do you mind if I post one of them on this page here, since today’s topic is flowers? I started to post it last night when I got the photos, but wanted to get your permission first. Jeff just told me last night that he would like for me to work on getting some of our plants out of the sunroom and onto the deck next weekend – after all these snows I’m a bit scared to do it but maybe putting some plants outside will be an act of faith this year. If you work next door to the Dupont mansion and gardens, that explains why you haven’t been there – it’s the old “I can go anytime” syndrome that has kept me away from DC so much for the past FOUR years (hard to believe we’ve been here that long) but just remember you are lucky to have the gardens that close by. I hope you are able to go soon!

  4. Beautifully said Julia…how very true. xo

    • Thank you Misifusa! Your gravatar is another example. I love seeing it online – it always adds a note of color and cheer!

      • Thank you Julia ~ I’m glad you like it. Your smiling face always make me smile as well! ♥

  5. Wow! What an amazing entry! I so needed to hear this. And that is a beautiful flower. What is its name? What type of flower is it? It almost looks like a lily to me….

    • It is a lily; I believe it’s called a striped lily although I don’t know the scientific name for it, but I thought it would go with the verse. They come in different colors and I just love the way they look. I’m glad you do too!

  6. Jack

    I can work myself up into a pretty big tizzy about some pretty small stuff: the won/loss record of the Atlanta Braves, my bad-and-getting-worse golf swing, whether or not the weather will be conducive to gobbling turkeys this coming Saturday, will the traffic be bad on my Dallas commute this afternoon (it will). So basically, I like to worry about outcomes on things over which I exercise NO CONTROL. Funny, I don’t get worked up about important things that I can do something about, like loving my wife and kids, doing my job to the best of my ability, taking care of myself by eating right, exercising, going to the doctor…no guaranteed outcomes, but its not the outcome that’s important, its the effort. I think, I worry. I do, I rest peaceful. Hmm.

    • Jack, leaving aside the matter of the won/loss record of the Braves being VERY big stuff to some people I know 🙂 I have to agree with you that we normally tend to waste energy fretting mostly over things we can’t do anything about. This sort of lets us off the hook. At the risk of sounding a teeny bit political here, I noticed years ago that people from both ends of the spectrum and even in the middle tend to get worked up over issues that do not demand anything of them personally; a variation of the old “not in my back yard” approach. Often, the things we campaign hardest for (or against) would come at personal or financial cost to people other than us. Yet as you say, I tend to find the most peace of mind from what I actually DO, not what I fret or fume about. Even a small action can be worth thousands of words.

  7. raynard

    Julia I’m humbled and honored that you thought enough about me to want to use my pictures. you have my blessing to bless others. ( BTW) i dont have a watermark on them.( my wife and my family are so “A.D.D.” about pictures( Im not) lol) Do you still have the other ones I sent you I think last year? I have about 6 years worth of Flower Show Pictures on my computer.. It’s like that “Coyote caught the Road Runner moment”What do I do now that I caught him lol

    • Raynard and Merry, the photo is in the post now (at the bottom, just scroll down) – when I loaded it into WordPress it came out small, probably because emailed photos are usually reduced in size – so when I enlarged it a bit I lost some of the detail, but I think the beauty of the flowers comes through. Thanks for sharing these with us!

  8. Sheila

    Julia, just one bloom, with so much beauty, is breathtaking! The verse completes the photograph so perfectly. Although, attention to detail isn’t nearly as important to me as it once was, I suppose I’m guilty of worrying and fretting, too. “Pure grace” is a beautiful phrase that you have shared today. Thinking of y’all this evening, hoping that all is well there. I have a little package to send to Matt tomorrow. 🙂

    • Sheila, I have been sipping the most wonderfully aromatic Acai, Pomegranate and Blueberry Green tea! It’s delicious even without adding any black tea to it. Thanks so much – there are such generous people here! I am reminded of the quote from J. D. Salinger: “I am a kind of paranoid in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.” 😀 All is well here, we had a beautiful evening and I walked AFTER dinner instead of before, for the first time since last fall before the time change!

      • Sheila

        Julia, I’m so glad that you like that blend. That combination is rather unique! Regarding the little package, does Matt have any interest in Marvel Heroes? I thought it best if I ask you first. 🙂

        • Hi Sheila, I do think it’s some of the best green tea I’ve ever tasted. I am a bit embarrassed to say we don’t even know much at all about the Marvel Heroes, but I am sure Matt would love them. We all liked the Spiderman movies and I think he is a Marvel character? Since we don’t have X-box or other computer games we are sort of out of the loop on that one! Actually what pleases him most is just the idea of someone thinking of him, so you really can’t go wrong. He loves notes from others, and photographs of people and animals so probably a photo of you with Walter would be just the right thing to put a big grin on his face! Thanks so much for thinking of him.

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