The Tulips of Pella

The Tulips of Pella

My day begin in a gathering of High Priests, Evangelists and Bishops as we shared memories of May Day Baskets in the pre-gathering time on Zoom. While I have faint memories of my sister having been involved with May Day Baskets at some time in early childhood, this is not a tradition that was ever handed down to me. So I really enjoyed the stories of how people shared baskets of flowers on May Day, May the 1st. Some said that over time these baskets started to fill with candies until eventually some May Day baskets were entirely candy-filled.

I followed that online meeting by driving to Pella, Iowa for the celebration of King’s Day, which honors the Dutch Monarch. For me it was really just an excuse to see the tulips and I was not the only one who had this idea! Pella was bustling with visitors anxious to see the tulips and buy a prized Dutch pastry (Do not confuse this with a “danish” as Danes are from neighboring Denmark, not Holland (aka the Netherlands). Pella is a lovely community with a proud Dutch Heritage and it even sports several windmills. And there was plenty of wind today!

If you ask me my ethnic background, I will most likely say I am a mix of English-Scottish-Swedish-Finnish. But the truth is I have a sliver of Dutch as well, most notably from Maria Van Gent (1642-1711) and all the way back to Vranck de Wael (1475). But I am not Dutch enough to own a proper Orange shirt to claim such heritage.

Walking among the tulips and taking photos, the cultivation of floral beauty was on proud display. I could not help but pause and consider the sacredness of creation. ( #SacrednessOfCreation). Like a glorious voice in a choir of flowers, each tulip bursted upward and outward in a rainbow of different sizes, shapes and colors as if singing the “Alleluia!” in the Easter anthem.

On the way home I stopped and snapped a photo of our Monroe, Iowa, Community of Christ.   I haven’t had the opportunity to visit Monroe yet due to a year f COVID-19 travel restrictions, etc.  

Some days are just meant to be lived in a big, loud “Thank You God!” kind of way. The tulips of Pella sing the alleluias of resurrection and I say “Amen!”

Spiritual Practices for Today

In front of the Monroe Community of Christ sign today, there was a single, lonely lavender tulip. It wasn’t as large or colorful or hardy looking as most of the ones I saw in nearby Pella where the cultivators are professionally motivated to make the tulips bloom just at the right moment. But this lone tulip captured my imagination too. It’s song, though alone and perhaps not seen or heard, gives voice to the one who is lonely, isolated or afraid. Where might you find the lonely tulips in your life? How can you hear their song?

Consider this prayer:

Pray: God of Bloom and Color, we praise you for every hue in the rainbow, every variant in the wondrous flora of your creation. Help us to appreciate the community of life in every garden and develop respect for the biodiversity of this amazing created planet in a vast universe of your creation. Forgive us when we step on the life beneath our feet without respect for the beauty of its offering to the diversity of all things. Help us to see, appreciate and respect every color, every kind, every place and see all as sacred invitation we pray in Jesus name, Amen.    

Luke 12:22-32 Do Not Worry

He said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

How is this passage speaking to you today?

What thought enter your mind as you consider the lilies of the field (or the tulips or wildflowers or trees…)

Download or open the Community of Christ app on your smartphone or visit www.cofchrist.org to read today’s Daily Bread and Prayer for Peace. After reading the Daily Bread, consider these questions:  

What resentment do you need to let go of?

What does it mean to truly forgive someone?

Pray the Mission Prayer: God, where will your Spirit lead today? Help me be fully awake and ready to respond. Grant me the courage to risk something new and become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen.

2021 Guiding Question: Are we moving towards Jesus, the peaceful One?

2 thoughts on “The Tulips of Pella

  1. Rob Franks

    We pride ourselves on the small, intimate ministry :^) When you come back you’ll see a diversity of blooms around that sign and other places on the grounds!

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