Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fake plants in real soil?

I once lived in an apartment complex where a neighbor placed artificial flowers in the ground around her patio. It could be quite disorienting to see bright blooming flowers “growing” up through the snow in winter. Every time I saw them (and I saw them every day) I thought of how my dad would react if he were alive.

My dad was a florist; a noted grower of real roses and other flowers. He was very picky about the quality of the flowers he would allow to be cut and passed along for sale. And he hated fake flowers. He could spot them a mile away. That is, until the technology changed and the fakes began looking more and more like the real thing. He hated that. Being faked out.

My mother preferred real flowers but was okay with the plastic ones. She felt they had their place. Dad usually bit his tongue on the topic around mom. He let her do her thing. But even she would not have “planted” fake flowers in the ground or even in pots with real soil. That would have been just too weird.

I agree. Some things just are not meant to be.

Yet, there are people who are like fake plants in real soil all around. They go to church, know the lingo and the liturgy, and have that dazzling – is that plastic, you wonder -- smile. At first, they seem okay, but then it snows and nothing shifts.

Fake plants blow away in a storm because they have no roots. When faced with constant sun light, they fade. In the glare of the sun they are exposed for what they are – fake.

Grounded Christians are like perennial plants. They may not bloom in the snow, but they’re alive and solidly rooted no matter what. Real people of real faith may wilt when the soil is dry or the weather is harsh. They’ll bend in the wind. They’ll loose their petals when whacked. They’ll turn brown if a dog pees on them. But they’ll also recover, straighten, re-green, and arch toward the Son when the storms pass. When the Son shines, they blossom.

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NIV).


1 comment:

  1. Nice posting, Stephen. Enjoyed the book review, too. You have a good mind.

    I think I've turned brown more than once, if you know what I mean. And my Dad is known in the neighborhood for the fake flowers he "plants" in the garden come winter. We feel embarassed and love him. Not the worst of flaws, eh?


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