Sunday, February 27, 2011
Lilies of the field?
I'm a great one for a bit of symbolism, and tend to become inordinately excited when I'm surprised by something beautiful. I knew that last year I'd dumped the crocus bulbs under the hedge, to make room for something else in their pot, and I knew that I'd seen some insipid yellow flowers through the kitchen window, but I had no idea that today's sun would bring out the delicate mixture of colours in the picture. There there were, in all their fragile beauty, producing a huge swelling of delight as I came home from church in the early afternoon.
And the symbolism? Well we'd just had our new bishop, Kevin, celebrating the Eucharist in our church, three weeks after his consecration. The congregation was about double the size it had been a couple of years ago; the children were so ... uninhibited ... that I'd had to bellow the intercessions, and we'd had a jolly lunch party afterwards. And yet we all know how fragile our economy is, how easily the building could become too much to keep going, how people can die or drop away. There seems no sensible reason why we're there, why we keep going, why people put so much into making sure the beauty of the liturgy is there, week in week out.
But today it all came together. The sun shone, Cowal looked beautiful, the crocuses were in full bloom, and we had our new bishop in his church on the hill. And I thought of the lilies of the field, and how little I'd cared for these flowers that were so pleasing me today. And like all the best symbolism, there lay behind the coming together a greater truth, one that shatters or slips away in the moment when I try to express it, so I won't try any more. Let the picture be enough.