In his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus uses the common theme of nature to remind us to seek his Kingdom and to not worry unnecessarily about our earthly needs. “Consider the lilies of the field,” he tells those gathered, “how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Matthew 6:28-29).
In her poem “Consider the Lilies of the Field” (one of her many devotional pieces), Romantic poet Christina Rossetti ponders what other messages the flowers of the field can teach us. This refreshing extension of the verses found in Matthew reminds us that God can speak to us through creation, just as he speaks to us through his Word.
Of particular importance is Rossetti’s reminder that though we are often amazed by the wonders of creation, we do not often take the time to reflect on the humble lessons these wonders relay.
Commentary written by Stephen Mapes.
'CONSIDER THE LILIES OF THE FIELD'
Flowers preach to us if we will hear:--
The rose saith in the dewy morn:
I am most fair;
Yet all my loveliness is born
Upon a thorn.
The poppy saith amid the corn:
Let but my scarlet head appear
And I am held in scorn;
Yet juice of subtle virtue lies
Within my cup of curious dyes.
The lilies say: Behold how we
Preach without words of purity.
The violets whisper from the shade
Which their own leaves have made:
Men scent our fragrance on the air,
Yet take no heed
Of humble lessons we would read.
But not alone the fairest flowers:
The merest grass
Along the roadside where we pass,
Lichen and moss and sturdy weed,
Tell of His love who sends the dew,
The rain and sunshine too,
To nourish one small seed.