Set Your Minds on Things Above (Col 3:2)

I took this photo while walking down the road, years ago. I was struck by the tenacity of those little flowers: doggedly opening their petals towards the sun, soaking in light from above to keep them blooming. All this regardless of their crumbling, neglected surroundings. When I got home I just had to put words to the feelings this scene gave me, so I wrote a poem:


Remember the flower
when you’re feeling jaded,
when routine rules
and your joy has faded.
Walk down the street
and you will meet
richly intricate beauty
in untended spaces.

Notice the petals
so carefully placed,
drink in the colours, the scents;
hold them close to your face
and ponder for a while how
God, in all his awesome power,
has created such detailed, delicate beauty
in one small, fragile flower
whose solitary bloom
brightly decorates your path,
divinely dazzling roadside land
long neglected by human hands.

Proudly the flower stands,
In simple self-posession;
its face fixed on the sky,
it shines –
its beauty relies not on people’s attention.
We also take heart
as we look to heaven;
we learn from the flower
as Jesus said:
How much more precious to God are we –
who bear his very breath,
his fingerprints,
in our inner being.

© Kristy Johnston, 2003

The message paraphrase of Matt 6:30-31 is wonderful: “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.”

Lord, may we seek first your kingdom. May we lift our eyes up, above the mess. Help us to set our minds and our hearts on you, not on earthly things. Thank you for adorning flowers with such beauty, even the ones that are never seen. Please increase our faith. We want to learn how to rest in you and trust that you’ll provide for our needs without us needing to fuss and fret. Amen

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