Preparing for Worship – Ashley Robinson, pastoral resident.
Today we are greeted with van Gogh’s Almond Blossoms, a nod to his love for Japanese artists. Van Gogh was particularly drawn to the way Japanese artists took great care in studying and noticing the details of nature, “as though they themselves were flowers.”
I wonder what we miss when we don’t get close enough to creation to notice its details. A very special pair of tiny hands once pointed me back to the beauty of creation at a time when I needed to be reminded of God’s goodness. In my not-so-distant past life, I spent my days working with a bright, precocious two-year-old girl. Her favorite activity was taking a walk to “see ’bout the neighbors.” We never got far from her house, because she discovered new wonders every few steps.
One day on our walk, I was growing impatient with her constant stopping, not because of her, but because I was growing impatient with life — of living in liminal space. I was about to hurry her back home when she stooped down to admire a butterfly wing (the butterfly had probably passed days before). “It’s green!,” she exclaimed. But I saw purple. Just as I was about to correct her, she grabbed my arm and yanked me down to her level. As her tiny doughy fingers pointed at what, from a distance, appeared to be purple, I noticed that there were tiny streaks of green and blue and jet black. The detail was breathtaking. Her tiny fingers were small enough to point out the exquisite detail, but more importantly, her mind was thirsty enough to accept the beauty in creation.
In a letter to his brother, Theo, van Gogh wrote of noticing details, “to think that a field of wheat or a cypress is well worth the trouble of looking at close up.” What might happen if our minds were thirsty enough to notice wonder? How might your worship change if you allow yourself to live, like the artists that van Gogh followed, as though you yourselves were flowers?