This photograph was taken by my dear ‘big brother’ Tim Hogg – it would seem that his artistic abilities have been well concealed from even myself!
Poppies have grown evermore symbolic to me over the years and are a fancy I hold rather dear. Such an infatuation has been nourished of late by a man of the name Neville, a stranger with whom I was briefly acquainted through an accidental happening of a friend. What was surely a move of God far beyond coincidence presented itself in the form of the words of my own heart falling from the lips of another.
In recent months I have heard too many a tale of powerful ideas dying malnourished an unnecessary death. Myself, my spiritual family, my close friends and even distant acquaintances have experienced rejection and even abuse from those in organised institutions, condemned for believing in a better future and for ‘rebelling against rebellion’. These visionary followers of Christ have obediently chased callings of the Holy Spirit to bring about new and exciting ways of sharing the love of the Father in a broken city. Pioneering in Nottingham, young people are recognising the need for restoration of the wastelands where love is little but four letters crumbled to dust, hopelessly trampled under the feet of the lonely.
My inarticulate thoughts flowing eloquently through Neville’s words explained that like any other institution in the world, those who lead church congregations require the pre-constructed blueprints before leaving the office. So many are keen to plant perfect lawns, in perfect lines, with perfect colours, each square foot the same length, the same shade of green.
Perfection: that one attribute that is impossible to acquire, the very defining feature of what compels us to put our faith in Jesus, the one and only sinless man, perfection itself.
Yet perfection is what so many require for any thought to be made into action, for any calling to be put to work. Perfection translating to: ‘authority’.
There are three possible reactions one in authority might have to those who are inspired and think differently to themselves:
- “You are naive.”
- “You are rebellious.”
- “You might be on to something here… how may I try to understand you better?”
Sadly there are very few that would even consider the possibility of a third option, and so many visionaries are left ignored, condemned, and humiliated for thinking outside of the box.
But in the midst of this spiritual oppression may we be encouraged.
May we find joy in the knowledge that the very gardener of Eden spreads his love like wildflower. The ways of God are seldom perfectly formed lawns under the control of man. Like the seeds of a poppy he scatters far and wide and he is unstoppable. For those that plot to pluck out the ‘weeds’ in order to lay down their own regal turf, I pray that their eyes be opened, that in compassion for their brothers and in love for their God, they would seek the beauty of the poppy that grows from even the roughest of circumstances.
If the Lord gives you a seed, scatter it. It may not be fruitful, but the possibilities are far too wonderful to risk inaction. Throw aside your obsession for a perfectly formed lawn, for the Lord rejects those that claim perfection. By his grace, his acceptance is lavished upon the imperfect, and with the wildest of weeds he can do immeasurably more by his power that is far beyond the hand of man. For he is faithful. And the field will be made beautiful by his precious and perfect blood…