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April Showers Bring May Flowers…

One of my favorite spring flowers is the iris! In fact, I am a fan of most vertical flowers including iris, gladiolas and even an occasional delphinium. There is just something special about something that grows so tall and is out of the ordinary. I guess that is why I also like sunflowers that grace the summer landscape here in Indiana.

My love affair with irises goes back to my early childhood in Beverly on the south side of Chicago. We had a sidewalk that ran from the garage in front to the back door of our house. There was a bed of flowers that ran the entire length of the walk along the garage. Dad had planted it with every imaginable color of iris and they came into full bloom a week or more before the Indy 500 race on Memorial Day each year. By race day, the flowers were just about gone and one of my race day jobs was to cut down the flowers while listening to the “greatest spectacle in racing” on my Dad’s Toshiba transistor radio.

Those days were very special to me, and to be completely transparent, I also had to prep and paint the handrail leading to the front door, with beige Rustoleum paint. Dad and I worked as a team and listening to the race with my Dad has only been surpassed by carrying on that tradition with our son, Andrew.

You could pretty much tell what day it was in May by the way that the irises were growing. That pop of color, right under my bedroom window was my favorite time of year as the race approached. And then, by race day, the color show was over for the season.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when Janet and I have had our various homes, I have always tried to include these beautiful plants. But the last several years, I have been really disappointed. Yes, we have three small areas with iris bulbs, but we haven’t been blessed with flowers – just loads of green leaves! Until this year! I glanced out at our perennial garden and there, in all their glory, were twenty or so bright yellow irises. They were magnificent. And then, as if almost orchestrated by God, the yellow faded and was replaced by another stand of flowers in deep purple several feet away. They are in their glory right now, and I can just about see the next wave of color coming, pure white!

This succession of color has been worth the several years of waiting since we planted them.  I was beginning to worry that they would never bloom but God hasn’t disappointed us. One thing that I have noticed throughout the years is the fact that the iris blooms come about a week or so before they did growing up in Chicago. We are just far enough farther south that our show starts a little earlier and ends a week or two before Memorial Day. Our perennial garden is magnificent right now!

Our verse for tonight is about flowers. The Scripture is full of references that remind us of their beauty and divine providence – they inspire us to live by faith and trust in God. The good doctor Luke tells us, in Luke 12:27, “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”

My encouragement this evening is that God connects with us through nature – which is one of the spiritual pathways that help people connect with our Lord. Clearly, there are other ways that people connect with God – in times of silence, solitude, worship, prayer and music. But I, for one, am energized by God’s handiwork in nature. My prayer is that we will take very opportunity to enjoy God’s springtime display of color as we progress through this season of new life. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

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