Caulfield Evangelical Methodist Church
- Weekly Pastoral Message -

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"Continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine" Acts 2:42

Weekly Pastoral Message prepared by Rev. Murray Adamthwaite
for Sunday 2nd November 1997

From the Pastor: Curious Comparisons V

"The wilderness and the desert will be glad ... Like the crocus it will blossom profusely." Isaiah 35:1-2

On of the results of the so-called "El-Nino effect", apart from devastating floods in southern California, and the "big dry" in Papua-New Guinea and here in Australia, is that it has brought refreshment to the deserts of northern Chile which normally never receive rain. There has been TV footage of a desert ablaze with colour, and vegetation a-plenty.

The prophet Isaiah uses such a picture to preview the coming glory of Messiah when He and the coming new world will be manifested. One particular flower is singled out for mention, a flower variously translated as the "crocus", or the "lily", or even the "rose"; it is in fact the lily, identical with what we call the "Christmas lily". It grows in Israel on the fertile Sharon Plain, the coastal strip south of Mt. Carmel, and in Galilee, though not as profusely as was once the case. Isaiah foresees the desert becoming a Sharon Plain.

It is not so much the details of maturation but the symbolism of this flower which is worthy of mention as we contemplate the coming Messianic glory:

    (i) Its intense white colour has from antiquity been a symbol of purity and holiness. This was probably why the lily-motif adorned the capitals in Solomon's temple (1 Kings 7:19). Holiness befits the Lord's house (Psalm 93:5), and the world to come will be perfect holiness.

    (ii) Because of its whiteness, and because it exudes more scent at night as it anticipates the morning, it became a symbol of the resurrection. Certainly the desert coming to life in the way Isaiah describes heralds forth a coming glorious renewal when the dead shall rise.

How much do our lives match the symbol as we anticipate the coming glory?

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