Four years ago my second son was born and we named him Vincent, partially inspired by the sunflowers of the season and a love for colour and art so beautifully portrayed by Vincent Van Gogh. I am not sure I have met anyone who does not like sunflowers and that really does not surprise me. Sunflowers hold the beauty, mystery and majesty that the best of God's creation offers. If you do a search of the history and meaning of sunflowers, you will find them described as bright and cheery, and as warm and inviting as the summer sun. Sunflowers symbolize adoration, hope, happiness, strength, loyalty and longevity. Much of the meaning of sunflowers stems from its namesake, the sun itself. I was feeling many of these things all over again experiencing new birth.
I was reminded and inspired by God's creation once again this sunflower season as I watched an improbable but resilient seed grow into maturity in the back yard along side the garage. Many gardeners will know that sunflowers are proliferate multipliers and once they are present in your garden, they will come back year after year in droves as they self seed and spread. The unusual thing about this one though, as you can see in the picture above, is that it somehow started in the tiny crack in-between the garage and the sidewalk.
For a while, at first, I don't know how many times I was tempted to just pull it out, but then I became amazed at how persistent it was and how good it was growing. As you can see from the final picture, it did very well, gave our yard a sense of amazement and beauty and in the end, we were able to roast and eat the seeds. Reaping the harvest of a single tiny seed planted in the most unexpected place.
These two stories bring me to a place that maybe you have seen coming, or maybe you haven't, but it is a place that I have grown to love as a gardener and someone who sees God in so many ways in nature. I love how God shows us, through a small seed growing into a beautiful flower, or a huge zucchini, or big round orange pumpkin, that He is the creator, He is the provider, He loves diversity and beauty, and He wants us to enjoy and be a part of it too.
As the gardening season winds down and a new ministry season begins in our churches, I hope and pray that our churches, ministries and relationships can be like this little sunflower. Even if it finds itself between a sidewalk and a cement wall, with God's care and the nurturing of Christ in us, guided by the power of the Spirit, it ... we ... will see growth and fruit.