By Elizabeth Prata
I took that picture 15 or 20 years ago. It’s still one of my favorites. I had it enlarged and framed. It hangs on my living room wall.
It’s a photo of a B&B along Water Street in Lubec, Maine. The street is so named, as you might guess, because it faces the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, it’s on a narrow inlet and a stone’s throw across the inlet is Canada. The town is in a region of Maine that Mainers call Downeast. Far away and the edge of nowhere, but a small city that enjoys the spring and summer, short as it might be. The town is very close to the 45th parallel, halfway between the equator and the north pole.
The town is also the easternmost point in the US. The sun rises low and skitters away across the sky like a rock skipping on the water. It’s low and bright, but not warm. At winter solstice, the sun rises at 7:02 and sets at 3:49 pm, allowing only 8 hours or so of daylight.
With summer being brief and cool, and sunlight in short supply, these poppies are doing their best to reach for the sun. What caught me is their incline. They are leaning hard, seeking with all they’ve got, a beam of sunlight. Sunlight sustains them. Sunlight feeds them. They need the sunlight.
Jesus said the creation groans,
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Romans 8:19-22).
The very ground is cursed. (Genesis 3:17). Yet even the blind and dumb creation groans for its maker, and seeks to be released from the curse. The poppies stretch for the sun.
Do we, who are not blind and not dumb, sentient beings made in the image of God, seek Him with all we’ve got? Do we reach for the Son, the warmth and sustenance that is available?
Or do we, like the Israelites of old, turn our back to the Son, the warmth and food that is available through Him?
They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to receive instruction. (Jeremiah 32:33)
As the Puritan writer puts it in the Valley of Vision devotional, “The Love of Jesus”
But my love is frost and cold, ice and snow;
Let his love warm me,
lighten my burden,
be my heaven;
In these days and every day, seek the Son, His warmth of love, His brightness of glory, will shine upon you and warm you from the innermost. He is the light of life, the very sustenance upon which we thrive. Be like the poppies.