Nothing Artificial

I just downloaded some pictures from my little camera.  I was struck by how much the landscape has changed since I last downloaded!  This is the tiny camera that I carry with me everywhere, but rarely use because I usually have another camera with me.  The tiny camera is a result of my father’s wisdom.  He told me once “You’ll miss the shot 100 % of the time if you don’t have a camera.”  To remedy that possibility, I got a tiny, but very effective, camera to carry with me at all times.

On this download there were pictures of tulips – which are now totally gone; dogwood blooms – which are also totally gone; and iris – which are just now blooming.  Looking at the landscape now, it’s hard to remember that there were tulips and dogwoods just a few short days or weeks ago, but totally gone now for another year.  Everything changes.  Everything.  And, we have to ask ourselves, are we changing, too?

Working in the church for 25 years, I learned that there is a rule of thumb in liturgical decoration.  It is that there be nothing artificial around the worship space.  No artificial plants or flowers, no artificial candles, no artificial anything.  Why?  Because everything changes.  If we do not see that change of nature reflected in the real living and dying of plants and flowers, or the shrinking of burning candles giving themselves over to the light, how are we to see and accept the natural changes that are part of our lives?

Nothing artificial is a good rule of thumb to follow.  Let there be nothing artificial in our lives, either.  May we be open to the continual changes, the continual growth, the continual dying and being born again that takes place every minute of every day.  To freeze frame any of that is to be like a plastic flower arrangement that, while giving beauty upon its arrival, does nothing over time but take up space and gather dust.  Real fresh flowers and burning real candles are symbols for us of the Paschal Mystery and our continual need to change – our continual need to die to many things in this life so we might be born anew to a life of imitating Christ.So, I must not be sad that the tulips and the dogwood have come and gone, for today there are iris and roses.  Nothing artificial – only the beauty of creation coming to birth and dying over and over again for us.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.