Christian Art | Consider The Lilies Of The Field
Matthew 6: 24-34 – Week 11 Ordinary Time, Saturday (Audio Bible KJV, Spoken Word)
24 ¶ No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
It is astonishing to think that very, very few people in the western world do not live in a manmade environment. There may be acres upon acres of farmers’ fields and forests in front of us, and every acre is managed by people, often in situations of great anxiety as they worry about whether they might make some money from their work here. There is little in the way of wilderness remaining in our territories, and each day more is taken away. We may anticipate that, in very little time, all human beings will be living in an obviously man-made environment. It may be that our life on earth will become quite claustrophobic.
In order to appreciate these verses of the Bible, therefore, it may be that we need to cast our minds back a little – to a time when the human population of the earth was a fraction of what it is currently, when humans could be counted in their millions rather than billions, and also when agriculture was not as it is now.
Here we see God’s work. Still now, and no matter the modern, industrial approach to farming, we find precious glimpses of how beautiful Creation is. While panoramic views may be spoiled, still we may find ourselves in a copse, or a patch of meadow, or simply focusing our attention on a small plant in a garden, and thereby seeing through the beauty there a great view of the totality of God’s creation – as it has been said, to see the universe in a grain of sand.
God’s creation is truly astonishing. We may think of the lilies of the field. We may think of a crashing wave on the sea shore. Our modern age has afforded us additional ways of starting to perceive just how wonderful God’s creation truly is, through particle physics and the experiments to discover more about the fundamental particles, which are the building blocks of our universe. Each insight that comes to us thereby is wonderful; each detail glories God.
The more we learn about our universe, the more amazed and humbled we may feel. We have telescopes that can see to billions of light years away. We have mathematical and theoretical physics models that take us into strange dimensions and give us the Planck length. We have supercolliders smashing particles together to test theories about the fundamental constituent blocks of our universe. Matter and energy dance in these billion dollar constructions. These are our contemporary lilies of the field. This is our perceiving anew in our age how gloriously God clothes His universe.
To contemplate these great glories is to cease to worry. What joy we are a part of. What a dance. Look up at the stars! And rest assured that if God can do that, then he can take care of each one of us! Worry not; give everything.
‘Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.’ (Mark 10: 21)