... in the antirrhinum

Published on 20 Jun 2019
Antirrhinum or 'snap dragon'

The antirrhinum plants are coming into bloom now. Each stem has a mass of deep purple, red or white flowers along it which the bees love. Children used to call the plant snap dragon, from the shape of its flowers. As it is much easier to spell, I will use that name!

It is a sad fact that dragons have had a rather bad press over the years in most cultures, usually being linked in some way with evil. In the Bible the serpent appears in the book of Genesis and also in Revelations where it is described as ‘that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan’ (Rev 12:9 KJV). In his book The Hobbit, J R R Tolkien describes the evil dragon Smaug as “the great worm”. In this country we may not have serpents or dragons but we do have a variety of worms. But, rather than being evil, the earthworm does a great deal of good, taking down the rotting leaves into the ground to fertilise it, and by burrowing in the earth aerates it, with the result that plants, crops, shrubs and trees can grow and flourish. Indeed, without the humble earthworm the ground would be sterile. As it is, the beautiful flowers of the snap dragon provide the bees with the nectar they need, the bees pollinate other plants and the blind, unattractive earthworm fertilises the soil, so that each has a vital part to play in God’s Creation.

In the same way, you and I have a vital part to play in bringing God’s Kingdom on earth, for: ‘Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.’ 1 Cor12:27 NIV, and like the plants, the bees and the reptiles we each have different skills, attributes or characteristics to bring to the task just as St Paul reminds us: ‘As it is, there are many parts, but one body.’1 Cor12:20 NIV.  In other words we need to work together. Sometimes we may not feel that we have anything to offer, yet: ‘On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable’1 Cor.12:22 NIV. I doubt that the snapdragon flowers, the bees or the earthworm realise the part they play in the Grand Design, yet their involvement is essential. So is yours and mine, however great or small our contribution!