My wife, Audrey, and I like to start and end the day together by walking our dog around the neighborhood. We take roughly the same route each day: a right at the church down on the corner, then down a ways past the house that sometimes has the sprinkler system going (usually too great a temptation for our labrador), and then eventually winding around past the open field on either side of the street where large power lines cut through the neighborhood.
This is where we started seeing them a few weeks back. On either side of the street right by the road are the most incredible wildflowers.
Now as far as flowers are concerned, their color, shape and size are not remarkable: a ring of pale yellow petals about the size of a Girl Scout cookie. But this is not what makes these little wonders worth sharing.
My wife started noticing after a few days walking past them at dawn and dusk that they have peculiar habits. During the day you would not even know these flowers were there–they look like wilted, dried up weeds.
But at night they come alive.
Their blooms open wide and their stems stand up straighter, and suddenly what during the day was a nondescript patch of unkept field at night becomes home to an array of flowers whose humble yellow color takes on an almost florescent glow in the moonlight.
To see the change is astonishing.
Isn’t it true that the good news shines brightest–or perhaps we see it more clearly–when our world is dark? Of course, the good news is there when the sun is shining, too; waiting patiently to be seen–perhaps even lacking in luster compared to other attractions, holding back on its true nature and purpose until we need it most.
John Calvin once wrote that nature is a “shining garment in which God is revealed and concealed.”
The Gospel of John declares that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
Holding these two up together, perhaps we can humbly say the gospel of Jesus Christ is like a nocturnal wildflower: in some ways concealed if we live only in daylight, but vividly clear when the rest of our world is dark.
I’ve heard it said that you can find Jesus right where you need him. Easter will bring its lilies. But for this holiest of weeks, I’m going to consider the wildflowers.