Dear Siblings in Christ,
Several years ago when traveling on a motorcycle through Kansas I experienced
a magnificent sight, a field full of sunflowers. I could not help but smile! It was a
field full of sunshine.
Do you know that sunflowers date back to 3,000 BCE, and that the Native Americans in the Southwest and Mississippi River valley purposely cultivated the sunflower as a source of medicine, fiber, seeds and oil? This ancient flower has brought many smiles on faces throughout the years, except Bertha.
Bertha, a ninety plus year old, was a member of a former congregation that I served in southwest Iowa. She shared a story with me when she was a young girl. Every time a particular neighbor lady came over to visit her mother she would eat sunflower seeds that she brought with her. As the two woman had conversation around the kitchen table the lady would drop the shells of the sunflower seeds to the floor, before you knew it, there was a pile of sunflower shells. Bertha stated with disgust, “Every time I was the one that had to pick up the shells from the floor when she left. I had to clean up the mess.” For me the beauty of the sunflower is worth the pile of shells on the floor, but then again, I didn’t have to pick up the shells as a young girl.
God’s creation can be pretty messy, yet, we as followers of Christ are to love our neighbor in the midst of the messiness. Our love for other is to shine brightly like the sunflower. A couple of weeks ago, I had visited our folks at Good Shepherd Nursing Home and took pictures of each one. As I was taking their picture I told them to smile with their mask on, for a smile will be seen through your eyes.
May you shine forth with the love of Christ! We need that today in our messy world.
In Christ’s love.