Intricate Worth

Intricate Worth
Beauty lives in Cottonwood Canyon State Park near Condon, Oregon. Photo by Tim Graves
Beauty lives in Cottonwood Canyon State Park near Condon, Oregon. Photo by Tim Graves

Our ancient kindred were not exempt from struggles of daily living. Reading their stories and experiences with the divine it becomes clear that, like me, they needed reminders to simply be and to trust.

I’ve become fascinated with photographing small creatures and plants. When I review my photos I often marvel at the intricacies of their physical form. And, though I do not consider myself beautiful in any sense of the word, I wonder if perhaps I should.

I wonder if I feel self-distaste because of an over-familiarity with my own form. Perhaps my psyche has been poisoned by pop-culture’s false images of human worth and beauty. Or maybe I worry over that which I have no control, failing to slow down and appreciate myself and others.

A discarded faith crossed my path on a recent hike in Washington's Columbia Hills State Park near The Dalles, Oregon. Photo by Tim Graves
A discarded feather crossed my path on a recent hike in Washington’s Columbia Hills State Park near The Dalles, Oregon. Photo by Tim Graves

Whatever the reason I fail to see my own beauty and the beauty around me, I have something in common with the ancients.  I need reminders to trust the One, to worry less about tomorrow, and to let go of the past. I need to be reminded that I carry within me the Imago Dei (the image of God) and that I am valued by the divine One.

Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? If you can’t do such a small thing, why worry about the rest? Notice how the lilies grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, how much more will God do for you, you people of weak faith! Luke 12:25-28 CEB

Getting Close 2

Getting Close 2

I’ve noticed them near the two-lane at the end of our block. Just a few volunteers poke up among the weedy gravel at the side of the road. This morning I happened upon a field where many of the bright orange flowers were congregating. I did that thing I do; I got down on my hands and knees so I could see them more clearly. (A few weeks back, I talked about the power of getting close.)

(Photo by Tim Graves)
(Photo by Tim Graves)
(Photo by Tim Graves)
(Photo by Tim Graves)
(Photo by Tim Graves)
(Photo by Tim Graves)

Looking at these orange flowers that congregate outside of well-maintained yards, I find new power in one of my favorite biblical passages. Jesus is reminding hearers about the pitfalls of focusing on the worldly. He reminds us that worry is fruitless.

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for [God’s] kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Luke 12:27-31 NRSV

Jesus reminds his hearers that we are each called to focus on God’s kingdom rather than worrying about the earthly. As a follower of Christ this means that I need to worry less about accumulating things, about where the next paycheck will come from, and what our culture tells us is the norm. If I keep my eye on being God’s love in the world, the choices and actions that I need to take will become apparent. If I love without hesitation, I will find peace and calm with what is rather than what I want.

Creating Provider: Help me to consider the orange flowers of the graveled shoulder and weedy field. Amen.