When we lived in Dallas, Audrey and I loved to start and end the day together by walking our dog around the neighborhood. We would take roughly the same route each day: a right at the church down on the corner, then down a ways past the house that sometimes had the sprinkler system going (which was usually too great a temptation for our dog), and then eventually winding around past the open field on either side of the street where large power lines cut through the neighborhood.
This is where we started seeing them about this time last year. On either side of the street, right by the road, were the most incredible wildflowers.
Now as far as flowers are concerned, their color, shape and size were not remarkable: a ring of pale yellow petals about the size of a Girl Scout cookie. But this was not what made these little wonders worth sharing. Audrey started noticing after a few days walking past them at dawn and dusk that they had peculiar habits. During the day you would not even know these flowers were there—they looked like wilted, dried up weeds.
But at night they came alive.
Their blooms opened wide and their stems stood up straighter, and suddenly what during the day was a nondescript patch of unkept field at night became home to an array of flowers whose humble yellow color took on an almost florescent glow in the moonlight. To see the change was astonishing.
I wonder if these little wildflowers have something to tell us about Resurrection. Isn’t it true that the gospel—the good news that Jesus has been raised and now all things have been made new—shines brightest, or perhaps we see it more clearly, when our world is dark? Of course, the good news is there when our world is bright and all is well, too. It’s almost as if it waits patiently, holding back on its true beauty and assurance until we need it most.
John Calvin once wrote that nature is a “shining garment in which God is revealed and concealed.” The Gospel of John declares that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” Holding these two up together, perhaps we can humbly say the gospel of Jesus Christ is like a nocturnal wildflower: in some ways hidden if we live only in daylight, but vividly clear when the rest of our world is dark.
Easter will bring its lilies. But for this holiest of weeks, I’m going to consider the wildflowers.