Saturday, August 2, 2014

To Share or Not to Share the Limelight

Limelight Hydrangea
Limelight Hydrangeas really do live up to their name.  I don’t know if the other flowers are jealous, but this first week of August here in North Alabama, nothing can hold a candle to their beauty. They are easily six feet in height, and girth, covered with heads that wouldn't even think of fitting in a cornbread size mixing bowl covered with cool-white (well, with a slightly green tint) conical shaped blooms endowed with a slightly sweet intoxicating aroma.  They are absolutely spectacular and take the shine off everything else in the garden.  Just outside our door, their heads bow in gracious acknowledgement of your adulation and applause.  (Yes, it could be their weight, and slender little stem combination but I like to think there is a little humility and gratitude involved, you’ll just have to humor me on that one.)   

I admired some of these beauties in a neighbor’s garden several years ago, found the proper name, then purchased some plants and they “showed out” (a Southern horticulture term) the very first year!  Each year since, the display has gotten bigger and more gorgeous. Other bloomers such as the daylilies, have bloomed, gone to seed and look pretty straggly (another Southern horticultural term).  Others suffer from heat exhaustion.  For the Limelights, this is their opportunity for little to no competition and they take full advantage of their moment in the limelight (sorry, couldn’t resist).

If you look carefully at the photo, you might notice that rather than one big blossom, this show-stopping head is comprised of a multitude of tiny blooms.  Some are fully open, others are still buds just on the verge of popping out.  The first openers will use their energy before the younger ones come along, but they are willing to step out anyway.  The younger blooms will have to wait until their time, but they wait patiently and build on the path (well, stem) paved before them.  They are on one limb, from one bush, of one root, one goal and purpose.  I have yet to witness a hydrangea flower long range planning committee forming to decide if the color needs to change, or who the first to bloom might be, who needs to wait for another day, question why they have to bloom all by themselves in the heat of the summer, or how the fragrance might offend a sensitive bee and possibly need to be updated.  They bloom in accordance with the way they were designed by their Creator-in one accord, and at the appointed time, together providing an unrivaled display no one little blossom by itself could possibly achieve. 

After reading Thom Rainer's recent blog post about being a Unifying Christian, it seemed to me that if the plan laid out by the Creator Himself works for the living plants, it should also work for our living bodies of Christ – His church.  Wasn’t it designed as a framework in which we work together – in unity-to show the world our blooms?  Aren’t we all drawing from the same root?  Are we missing a blessing of opportunity?  One bloom can serve as a shining example for others to follow, but what an encouragement to be a part of a blooming spectacular!  It not only creates extra excitement, it becomes quite contagious!

Father, we thank you for so many who have bloomed before us, paving the way and encouraging us still.  Thank you for Your promises to be with us and never leave us or forsake us. Thank You for Your supply of miracles which will never be exhausted.  We want to live up to Your name and pray diligently today that our hearts and minds would be like Yours rather than ours.  We desire Your will for our hearts, our lives and Your church.  Father, help us to redeem our time wisely and work together in unity and in truth for the purpose of spreading the Word, glorifying Your name and establishing the kingdom.    

Francesca Battistelli
I don't need my name in lights...I'm famous in my Father's eyes...