Llandanwg Flower Festival Sermon 2013

I want to start by giving our heartfelt thanks to all those who have worked so hard setting up this flower festival, and all those who have helped keep the church open so that hundreds of visitors can come and visit this beautiful church in this beautiful place. A special thanks to Pam and Tony who continue to work tirelessly for this church.

Flower festivals are really important occasions, they are nice things to do and they help raise money for the upkeep and mission of the church. It helps bring people into the church who might not otherwise come through the door.

It provides us with a social event to come together. But most importantly it provides a chance for people to express their God given gifts and talents for creativity and to give an expression to their relationship with God.

We use these events to give glory to God, glory being the manifestation of the divine, and how appropriate for us to be gathered here, on this day, what better way could the divine be shown to us then in these beautiful displays, in this thin place, and surrounded by nature and God’s creation.

I’ve never been much good with flowers, other than being able to cut the steams down and put them in water, I wouldn’t have a clue on how to start and arrangement. So I really appreciate the talent that others have for it.

I dare not ask or count how many different varieties of flowers there are here in this church today. Nor do I want to think about the thousands plus varieties there are in this country. When we look at a flower, we may appreciate its shape, and colour, texture and smell.

There is a great and wonderful complexity and simplicity about flowers that tell us so much about our nature and our relationships.

Any scientist worth their salt would be able to say that the biological make up of any flower is complex. And I don’t think it would be stretching it too far to say that the whole universe and God himself is contained within each single flower. Each single flower contains with its growth the wind, rain and sun, the breath of 1000’s of people, from all around the world. The complexity of a single flower when you start to think about it is incredible.

Gwen and the Dragon
Gwen and the Dragon

And yet, a flower is so simple, even the smallest of children can appreciate it. And we have a picture from earlier this week of one of our Arch Noa mums and tots babies appreciating the ‘Dragon’ display. Flowers need no explanation; they speak for themselves by their very being. And that’s one of the things we love about them.

The same could be said for us, human beings, created by God, in the image and likeness of God. We are complex beings, in every sense of the term, biologically, physically, spiritually, psychologically. We too contain the universe and God within us. In each of us is contained the total of our experiences and knowledge, all of those people who have crossed our path, influenced us and taught us about the world and ourselves. We are so complex that each of us are individual, there are no two people the same, anywhere, ever.

And again, we are simple. Are basic human needs are the same. Our desires in life and our calling from God.

Food, water, shelter, comfort and connections with others. The things we need.

And our calling, to love one another. Those who were in church this morning will remember from our Old Testament reading (Deuteronomy 30:9-14) and the gospel (Luke 10:25-37) of the Good Samaritan both spoke about about the law of God, ‘to love God with heart, soul, strength and mind and our neighbour as ourselves’ and now, our epistle (1 John 4:7-13, 21) tells us ‘love one another, because love is from God’.

Complexity and simplicity, co-existing; in nature, in ourselves, in community, in love.

So as we view and appreciate these displays of creativity and life, and appreciate the complexity and simplicity of each flower, let us also observe ourselves within them, and within these arrangements, our communities.

We give thanks today for the complexity and simplicity of life, the complexity and simplicity of creation. For the flowers, and the talent, for each other and for the opportunity to express all these things and more to our creator.

Let us thank God for flower festivals, and all the things he teaches us within the talent and expression of these arrangements.