Monday, June 5, 2017

The Candle of the Lord

From my boyhood days, when I use to strip the fibers from its leaves, I have been fascinated by the Yucca plant, sometimes called Adam’s Needle, or the Lantern or Candle of the Lord. Native Americans planted Yucca near their villages and encampments.  They used the fiber in the leaves to make rope, the roots to make soap and shampoo, and used the roots as food.  They dried the leaves of the Yucca and used it as kindling to start their fires.  They also used the leaves to weave baskets and to make clothing.

The Yucca bears it’s flowers on a stalk—the stalk can grow an inch or two every day during late May and early June—eventually growing up to 5 or 6 feet before it blooms. When the days become hot, the Yucca stalk bends over, as if burdened, but the next morning the stalk stands upright again—tall and straight to face the new day.  When the heat comes again—the burden of the day—the stalk bends down again, only to rise to its lofty height the next morning.  Over and over, every day, I’ve observed this amazing phenomena.

Early in June the Yucca blooms—the stalk, now six feet high, breaks forth with blossoms—little bell-shaped flowers in a mass—like the flame of a candle.  When Jesus suggests that we pay attention to the lilies of the field, I think he might have had the Yucca plant in mind.  I’m not a poet, but in 1991 I tried to be….

This day is typical of this time of year,
Everywhere green growth appears.
The months pass quickly when May and June draw near.
How time flies, and as it goes, God’s garden grows.

This morning I looked upon His canvas in the yard
And saw the new,
That, overnight, His garden grew.

I beheld the wonder of the Yucca—
Its shaft so tall and straight,
Reaching upward toward heaven’s gates.
It was then that I recalled,
This is how the Yucca is supposed to grow.

It is the Candle of the Lord, you know.
‘Tis meant to point the way our eyes should go.
When we behold its lofty, towering spears.
The Yucca’s whole being is meant, you see,
To lift our spirits and set us free.

Unlike the bees, we need not seek the honey
In the thistle bloom,
For God has given us His Candle, and
Beholding it, we sense the place where we can find
Life’s nectar sweet, and stand again upon our feet.

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