It’s Complicated- Look, See, Pray

The florist was giving a demonstration to a group of older people. Taking a small selection of flowers, foliage, some ribbons and wire, she made a gorgeous, elegant centrepiece that would grace a palace. Her skill made it look EASY. Until we tried to make an arrangement of our own. It’s more complicated than it looks.

My eye was attracted by this beautiful luscious pink gerbera. Taken from directly above the flower, with direct lighting, I expected the photo to be a simple record of a beautiful bloom. Looking at the picture afterwards, it was much more complex than expected. Colour intensity grew stronger in the centre. Little shadows picked out and accentuated the structure of concentric rings of petals. The middle of the flower took on a dark mystery, like a black hole at the centre of a crimson star. Insects would be attracted by shape, colour, scent, and sweetness to home in on the nectar and, in passing, gather pollen to be utilised for reproduction of the flower. “Beez Meanz Seedz” (to parody a Heinz ad for baked beans).


At first glance, a simple flower. On second look it tells a story within a bigger story, a complex story about the interwoven processes of life itself.

Life is often more complicated than it appears at first glance.

Do we take the time to explore complications?

I know some people who approach the big questions – who am I, what am I here for, where am I going? – expecting to find simple answers to everything. It’s more complicated than that. At one level, a flower is a flower; at second glance we see so much more complexity. At one level, God’s love for us is very simple (and very true!). The more we ponder what the Bible is all about, what God is like, and what relationship do human beings have with the Eternal… the more we discover, uncover, apply, and celebrate.

Christian faith IS simple. Simple enough to be understood by everyone. Understanding God is complicated: experiencing and obeying Him as Lord and a Saviour is simple and yet we make it complicated when it should be simple, and vice versa!

Perhaps the best prayer for today might be: “Lord, help us to look properly, see clearly, think straight, and be honest with You and ourselves. We are not gods, You ARE the Living God. Show us Truth, grant us mercy, and give us compassionate hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

This what the Bible tells us about the God who speaks to humanity:  Isaiah 55:8-11 (Message)   “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” GOD‘s Decree:  “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.  Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, so will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.”

Words and photograph (c) Richard Starling, 2018

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