Praying in Greens and Flowers

Jun 3, 2012

When I attend churches all around the country, I appreciate the beautiful, worship-enhancing floral arrangements created by dedicated women and men on flower teams.These flowers are corporate, colorful gifts of adoration and gratitude to God for the many gifts we receive. They also lighten and brighten the worship space.

Until I came to Christ Church, Grosse Pointe I never thought of the altar flowers as more than what I described above–pretty, sometimes magnificent decorations and gifts. Richard Thomas–singer, landscape architect, flower-team member and ardent follower of Jesus–changed that for me. When Richard is responsible for the altar flowers, he prepares for his arrangements weeks in advance. He reads the Scripture passages for the given Sunday. He studies them, researches them, and prays them. Then he transforms his prayer and study into physical form and shape. His arrangements are jaw-dropping and eye-popping. But they are not just artistic masterpieces; they are visual interpretations of the Word. Wild and wonderful configurations of flowers, ferns, palms, grasses, branches, stones and shells tell the Biblical story and our story as the Body of Christ.

When my mind wanders during the liturgy, the Scripture readings or the sermon, Richard’s arrangements call me back. I not only hear the Word of God in church, I can see it. For the visual, antsy person I am, this is a real gift. When I leave Grosse Pointe, I will really miss Richard’s magnificent green prayers. I also hope I will never again take for granted the skill and prayer embedded in a vase of altar flowers.

Can you guess which arrangement is the:
Transfiguration?
Trinity Sunday?
Exodus 17:1-7 “And the LORD said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand the rod with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink.’?” ?
Ezekiel  37:1-14–The Valley of the Dry Bones?
Isaiah 64–“O that you would tear down the heavens and come down.”–Advent?