Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One possible missional model

This is a reprint of a post from 1996, whhich I wanted to share again this year.


While I will always, in some sense, be a Texas girl at heart, I also love being out East. The spring brings blooming fruit trees and clusters of daffodils along the roads, and the fall has the gorgeous arrays of changing leaves. It's breathtaking.

Summer also has lots of stuff in bloom, many things which wouldn't grow in my arid hometown of Lubbock unless you spent the kids' inheritance on irrigation. I especially enjoy the June-blooming daylilies under our bedroom window. But I was thinking today about the summer arrival that I most anticipate -- the sudden bouquets of chicory in almost every corner of the city.
Chicory is really beautiful. It has sky-blue flowers that open every day. Its hardy, woody stems grow in nice clusters for good visual effect. And it seems to appear, without fail, just about everywhere. It grows alongside telephone poles, in vacant lots, and in cracks of sidewalk. It's quite the survivor. During a recent city meeting on planting flowers to beautify Lexington for the Equestrian Games, someone stressed the need to plant flowers which would thrive without constant attention, exposed to exhaust fumes and choking dust. I wanted to nominate chicory.

Interestingly, it doesn't do well as a cut flower. Try to bring it home for the vase on your counter, and it just wilts. It needs to be connected to its context, to the stems, to the soil. It wants to stay where it was planted.

There may be some lessons here for the Church. We've become quite adept at planting and nurturing beautiful seeds, which smell nice and undoubtedly bring beauty and grace into the world. The trouble is, so often they require too much work, attention, and care, whch could be going to other things. We need to take our cue, not from dainty blossoms that wilt under the baking sun or wither in the slighest drought, but from this hardy and intrepid pioneer. The Church needs no more hothouse flowers; what it (and the world) needs is bunches of chicory.


Dan Lowe said...

Hey, did you know you can use chicory as a substitute (or included in) your coffee? Apparently, it also has some uses for healing. For more information on how to use this great plant, check this out:

R.S. said...

good words, maria.
thanks for re-posting.