A sea of green, intensely green, glowing in the morning sunlight. Made up almost exclusively of nettles, a plant described recently by a botanist as one of the “thugs” in our natural habitat, nestling in between trees, thriving on the nitrous oxides wafting across from a nearby road. A no-go area waiting to afflict the unwary with painful stings. Each nettle plant striving to out do its neighbour, stretching to get the best out of its environment, hiding the soil and decay in which its roots are buried, making a plant statement of “it’s all about me”.
But in the middle of the verdant carpet, a clump of bluebells stand, beautiful creations of vivid blue-violet, in stark contrast to their surroundings. The blooms delicate in their composition, bowing slightly as though their stalks are only just able to hold them up. Swaying delicately in the morning breeze. But seemingly making a declaration to the surrounding “bully-boys” that beauty can emerge from the same decay and decomposition that supports them both, in the process making a statement of blessing to their surroundings. A statement that applies to God’s people as well. We walk the same paths, do the same jobs, live in the same environment, breathe the same air, eat the same food, pay the same taxes, as the rest of the society in which we live. But we can be “bluebells” too, demonstrating what God can do, being beacons of grace and love in the sea of humanity that surrounds us, demonstrating that our surroundings need not dictate how our lives work out. Swaying in the winds of adversity that blow, but not destroyed by them. Bowing before our Creator, acknowledging His works.
But there the analogy ends. God created us all, whether we are nettles or bluebells. God, through His grace, has given us the opportunity to show nettles how to become bluebells. To put them in touch with their Creator. What an opportunity!