These big, bright, beautiful sunflowers started as seeds, given to the congregations of St Peter’s Church in Highfields and St Philip’s Church in Evington on the last Sunday in Lent.
They were something to look after and something to look forward to, in what were difficult times.
When each seed was planted, the church families thought about what Jesus did for each and every one of us, and how by conquering sin He opened the way for us to enjoy the Kingdom of God. Jesus chose love, and love won.
And just look at them now! They have grown into wonderful, life-affirming flowers - bringing joy and hope to all who see them.
Reverend Jonathan Surridge recently reminded his congregations and community of that time, back in lockdown, when we were all uncertain of the future and yet how certain we can be that even in the darkest of times, God will always be with us.
“In the last week of Lent, when it all seemed dark still, we planted seeds of hope and joy, and it has thrilled me this week as people have started to send in photos of that hope and joy coming to fruition,” says Reverend Jonathan.
“The sunflower is a stunning flower, standing tall and proud. They make me smile just to look at them. These flowers will continue to bring hope and joy to people, and then they will feed the birds and, if we are minded, we can collect a few seeds and we will have the hope and joy again next year.”
The Biblical authors often drew inspiration from the natural world to lead them to praise, and Jesus himself frequently illustrated his teaching with metaphors drawn from seeds, plants, wildlife and agriculture.
Whether you choose flowers, fruits or vegetables; planting seeds, helping them to grow and celebrating in God’s glorious creation, is a really simple thing to do, but can have great meaning and offer a focus for everyday prayer.