Invitation: Daylily


In the late spring of every year, the daylilies start to appear in the back yard. I’m no gardener, but I do enjoy the beauty of flowers and these ones, with their brilliant orange glow, pop like slow-burning fireworks of joy.

Aside from an occasional watering when the weather grows unseasonably hot or dry – which I’m not sure they even need – they require no effort to maintain. These beauties were here when we got here, and unless someone purposely tears them out, they will long outlast us. Given the short lifespan of any individual flower, that seems a little mystical.

Of course the desirability of any plant is subjective to the grower. I’ve heard people say daylilies are “just this side of weeds” and “invasive nuisances.” Still, I get excited when I see them appear in a corner of the yard where they hadn’t been before. They may be my favorite kind of drop-in guests.

The more there are, the brighter the glow. When the sun hits the yard at just the right angle, it puts me in mind of the holy fire of Pentecost, a season we are in the midst of at this moment.

Maybe we can take some invitational inspiration from the daylily.

It doesn’t appear because of anything elaborate we’ve done – no special programming, no fancy greenhouse. It appears because its nature is to bask in the sun for the short time it has on earth, and it thrives when we accept it for who it is and offer assistance during tough times.

Daylilies are as common as the dirt they grow in, but God has seen fit to imbue them with striking beauty. There may be fancier plants in the garden, more serious subjects which require elaborate knowledge and constant care to grow, but we miss a lot of grace if we choose to equate common with nuisance, or if we devote all our attention to the “important” blooms and never look around at what we’ve been given freely. When they show up uninvited in the odd corner where they aren’t “supposed” to be, could it be a misplaced sense of control that compels us to reign them in rather than marvel at their resilience?

People are going to show up at Christ’s table uninvited. We might prefer them to have been better tended, more holy and less common in appearance or demeanor, closer to some design we had in mind, but God puts them where God will. Our job isn’t to weed them out, but to find the Christ in them and offer spiritual and physical nourishment as needed. Viewed from just the right angle, even the most common flower glows, and the more who gather around Christ’s table, the brighter the glow.

Who are we to determine who deserves to bask in the Son? Let us be gardens of welcome.

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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