It is Sunday afternoon, and it is rather cool and rainy outside. There is such a chill in the air that I have a small fire in my study stove. I have on a fairly heavy sweater and surely know we are not going outside for our walk. So sit in that chair over there by the window, and we will talk for a while.
How are you? Has this been a good day for you so far? It has been a fine day for me and for Dale. We attended church services this morning, and then we went out to do a Mother’s Day errand. Over the years, I have smartened up so that now I seek to purchase so called greeting cards ahead of time. The cards for Dale are right there in that cubby in my desk.
Have you noticed the price on cards today? I cannot believe how expensive it is to purchase a Valentine, or a Mother’s Day card. All during Dale’s and my marriage, we have surprised each other with cards, sometimes for no other reason than to say I am thinking of you, or I love you. As a matter of fact, I believe greeting cards have helped Dale and I to have an exceptional relationship as husband and wife.
Those of you who know me really well know that I have a special Pooh bear that Dale gave me not long after we were married. And not long after that, I purchased Dale a stuffed white polar bear that she named Al. Over the thirty years we have been married, we have placed cards in the paws (sort of) of Al or Pooh. It really is quite wonderful to go upstairs to bed at night and find a thoughtful card that tells you that you are loved. Sometimes there have been cards that said you were sorry but most of the time the cards have been ones of kindness, thoughtfulness and love. HOWEVER if prices keep rising, you are going to be able to buy a wonderful bouquet of flowers for the same price. Maybe I’ll start doing that for Dale loves flowers.
Mother’s Day is this coming weekend, and as Dale loves flowers so much, I think of my own mom. So often when my wife comes home from grocery shopping and we unload the car, I find there is a bundle of flowers. Truly I love that for it tells me Dale loves flowers, and it brings back happy memories of my growing up.
My mother had special flowers for every holiday. In the autumn, there would be chrysanthemums in the window of her home. At Christmas time, there would be poinsettias and at Easter of course, Easter lilies. There would always be a vase filled with lilacs in the spring and in the summer a vase filled with asters or gladiolus. My mom also truly loved violets, as did her mother and many in the Hill family. As she was rather allergic to roses, my dad usually gave her other flowers on Valentines Day along with the largest Valentines I ever saw.
The only flower that I remember my mom not liking was the calla lily. She associated those with funerals, and back years ago that was the most popular flower for a basket when there had been a death in a family.
One custom that was prevalent when I was growing up was to have a cone shaped basket of flowers beside the front door of a home where there had been a death. When you saw such a bouquet, it always caused you to think of the family inside that home and to offer a prayer for them. In my heart, I rather wish that were a continued custom for in a passer by it did raise a thought of God and a thought of kindness for those who were grieving.
On Mother’s Day when I was a young boy, Deacons of the Baptist church we attended gave out carnation boutonnieres for the men and boys of the congregation; I do not know why they were not also given out to girls. (A different age.) If your mother was living, you were given a red carnation, but if your mother had passed away, you were given a white one to be pinned on your lapel. How happy and joyful I was to have my mom so that they gave me a red carnation. When I looked about the others in church, my heart was saddened to see many of the older men wearing a white carnation. That is, of course, what I would have to be given today.
In the churches I served as pastor, I brought back that old tradition. One of the thoughtful members of the congregation donated the flowers, and we had volunteers in one church to make up a boutonniere for all the members of the church. As a new tradition, the carnations were given out to men and women, boys, and girls. Sometimes, we just gave out a long stemmed carnation that was not pinned to your garment.
Living in Melrose, my mother purchased her flowers from Casey the Florist. How very often the delivery car from there would pull up to our house. Many times, the flowers came from my dad as well as my mother purchasing them for herself. After my mother passed away, Casey’s went out of business, and we would tease each other that the reason that happened was that my mother was no longer purchasing flowers.
In a day when orchid corsages were popular, my mother often wore one on Mother’s Day.
One morning as my father left our home to go to work, he picked a lily of the valley from our backyard. Days later, he came home with a gold pin for my mother cast from that flower. As my dad was a dentist, he had a casting machine for making gold crowns so my dad could cast in gold a lily of the valley pin.
Years and years ago, I remember my father holding in his hand a beautiful flower from his garden. I cannot remember just what flower it was. He held it up to me and made the statement, “When you see this flower and how beautiful it is, you know there has to be a God, or this life is just a dirty trick on us.” My dad had a firm belief in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the purpose of life was to build a soul. He knew there was a God.
This time of year, he would have ordered the seeds for his gardens, and he would be anxious to plant them in the good earth. He would tend his plantings with care, and then one day would bring in a flower for my mother from his garden. How wide the smile would be upon his face as my mother reached out her hands and took that flower looking upon it with love, and at the same time, looking upon my father with an equal love and admiration.
Jesus taught us to look carefully at the world around us. He told us how God clothed the lily of the field, and when we looked upon that lily, we should not fear for want of clothing.
If you are reading this and you still have your mother, please do this ancient pastor a favor and send flowers to your mother.
Many years ago, I made a handkerchief box for my mother. When she passed away, I asked my dad if I could have that box. When he gave it to me, there was a note in it I had written to my mom years and years before. I still have that note. “Here is a touch of spring for you, Mom.” I had left her a pot of daffodils in springtime. How I wish I had done that more often than I did. So please if you have a mom this Mother’s Day, send her flowers. Please do!
Scripture: Matthew 6: 28 – 30
28“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Almighty God, help us to look upon a flower and wonder at the glory of which you have surrounded us upon Your earth. May a simple flower blooming this spring bring home to us the magnificence of your power and love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
‘”And now may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other. Amen.”