Today’s Reading: John 18:33(NIV)
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked Him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
While walking through the Climatron® at the Missouri Botanical Gardens yesterday, I stopped to admire the Marantaceae plants. Its beautiful ground cover and foliage originates from the arrowroot family of flowering plants. Colorful, variegated leaves in shades of green, white and pink grow along the jungle floor. As the sunlight peeked through the dense brush, Marantaceae leaves stretch toward the light, looking somewhat like two hands folded in prayer. This is why this species is more commonly known as “prayer plants.” I watched in amazement as streams of sunlight fell across the jungle floor, and how the prayer plant foliage seemed to reach up toward the heavens in honor of the master creator. If a simple plant can acknowledge and honor the Lord Almighty, then why can’t we?
The Gardens are beautiful in every season, and I could not think of a more appropriate place to begin the New Year. It was very cold outside, and our stroll through the Japanese Gardens became a brisk, fast-paced walk. We especially enjoyed playing “I Spy” inside the Gardenland Express, the holiday Flower and Train Show. Joshua and Emily took turns finding the various puzzle pieces that matched the train displays. Just watching all the trains circle the perimeter of the complex made me long to go home and pull out our old train set in the basement and put it up again. It has been years since Jeff and I put the trains together at Christmastime. A lot of work and ingenuity went into the creation of this magical mountain holiday. It is an impressive piece of art, to say the least.
Sometimes it is hard to understand how we can see such beauty all around us and not recognize and acknowledge the creator of it all. I think Pilate must have known who Jesus was, but he was unwilling to admit it. Thinking he could simply trap Jesus with his words, Pilate asked one simple question, “Are you the king of the Jews?” God’s Word has a way capturing us right where we are. God's Word has the power beyond all human thought, to pierce even the hardest of hearts. It is like a beautiful prayer plant that rises up to the light of the Son, paying homage to the Lord, the giver of life. It cannot be quenched or denied its rightful place within the universe.
We often speak rhetorical questions, knowing the answer before we ask. Take some time soon to visit the garden of prayer in 2009. The year is young and the foliage is beautiful in every season. May you know and recognize God for who He is and whose you are in Him. Have a happy New Year in the Lord.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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