Saturday, June 14, 2008
Fragile flower or firm sacrifice?
Flowers. We are mesmerised by their beauty, entranced by the colours, captivated by their design. We have them adorn the surrounding of our homes. We await their blooms in anticipation. We display them to delight our eyes. We give them away as a sign of our love.
I am therefore surprised at the bible's treatment and usage of the flower in general as a metaphor for nothingness.*
Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.
He springs up like a flower and withers away;
like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.
As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
Woe to that wreath,
the pride of Ephraim's drunkards,
to the fading flower, his glorious beauty,
set on the head of a fertile valley--
to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine!
That wreath, the pride of Ephraim's drunkards,
will be trampled underfoot.
That fading flower, his glorious beauty,
set on the head of a fertile valley,
will be like a fig ripe before harvest--
as soon as someone sees it
and takes it in his hand, he swallows it.
But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.
Beautiful things are good to behold but that is all.
We are called instead to be to God the aroma of Christ, a fragrant offering - not as fragile flowers to behold, but firm sacrifices to be offered to God - Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-- this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)
Photo © 2008 Pearlie Ng
* Specific flowers like the roses and lilies do seem to be used differently though as a name and metaphor.