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Sunflower - Monday Musing, March 7, 2022

Dear Church,

Sunflower. The popular annual plant, Helianthus annuus, is commonly called the Sunflower. In Greek, Helios means sun, and Anthos means flower, thus the name sunflower. Because of their association with the sun, sunflowers are considered a happy flower and the perfect bloom for a summer flower delivery to brighten someone’s mood (although, whose mood doesn’t brighten no matter what the species of flowers being delivered to our door?)! It is amazing how tall and big a sunflower grows.

The sunflower is said to be Ukraine’s national flower, so it comes as no surprise that following the Russian invasion of Ukraine sunflowers are being displayed across the world to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people. The sunflower has turned into a symbol of resistance. Recent news reports describe Ukrainian women in the Henychesk, Kherson region confronting Russian soldiers asking them why they came to Ukraine. The women are seen placing sunflower seeds in the soldier’s pockets saying, “so that flowers will grow when you die on the Ukrainian land.”

Sunflowers are being placed outside of Russian consulates throughout the world. Close to home, people are selling sunflowers and/or sunflower seeds with the proceeds going to numerous humanitarian relief efforts. The eyes of the world are watching as the desperate cries for peace emanate from the suffering people of Ukraine. Uniting in prayer, action, and giving, the United Church of Christ and churches across the globe stand as a people of faith in love and compassion with the people of Ukraine and all who are affected. We support the efforts of global partners who are welcoming those driven from their homes.

May we be generous in our support of known, reliable humanitarian agencies. May we be equally charitable with our prayers for peace. Pray these words by poet author Ann Weems:

“I No Longer Pray For Peace”

By Ann Weems

On the edge of war, one foot already in,

I no longer pray for peace:

I pray for miracles.

I pray that stone hearts will turn

to tenderheartedness,

and evil intentions will turn

to mercifulness,

and all the soldiers already deployed

will be snatched out of harm’s way,

and the whole world will be

astounded onto its knees.

I pray that all the “God talk”

will take bones,

and stand up and shed

its cloak of faithlessness,

and walk again in its powerful truth.

I pray that the whole world might

sit down together and share

its bread and its wine.

Some say there is no hope,

but then I've always applauded the holy fools

who never seem to give up on

the scandalousness of our faith:

that we are loved by God......

that we can truly love one another.

I no longer pray for peace:

I pray for miracles.

As the sunflower leaves grow, the flower slowly gets bigger, and the stem grows higher. It may not be something that we notice happening because it occurs so slowly, bit by bit. Despite our efforts, we cannot make a sunflower grow faster. May the God of miracles hear our prayer, revealing a smiling sunflower of peace. See you in church!




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