When I was a boy, I remember my father handing my mother a dozen long-stemmed roses as he walked through the the front door after arriving home from work on Valentine`s Day.
…the image of him in his sweat-stained work clothes juxtaposed with the fragile beauty of the flowers is a memory I treasure; and indicative of the great tenderness of which my father was often capable…
Yes, for as many years as I can remember, my father would come home from work on Valentine`s Day with the dozen roses and give them to my mother. I always loved seeing my parents’ subdued and sincere displays of love and affection towards each other.
However, there were also many other days where my father would come home from work with a dozen roses for my mother – days of no significance. Not Valentine`s Day, their anniversary or any other special occasion. This would surprise me and on one particular occurrence of this (being a foolish and overly curious boy) I asked my father, “Why did you bring home flowers, it`s not a holiday or anything?”
My father focused his blue eyes on me and responded, “Son, I don`t need a holiday to bring your mother flowers,” and then he smiled, “I love your mother every day – and the flowers just remind her that a lot of things die, but my love for her never will.”
I think about this in the context of both today`s holiday and of the recent Ash Wednesday “holy day” – combined with the premises of the Lenten season…
I have read and heard much of this Ash Wednesday and of Lent in the last several days and, although I am a tolerant man, I find so much to despise of this institution.
Verily to many it is seen as loving tribute to the Lord… yet for me it reeks of a superficial and pharisaical indulgence – not to mention a complete lack of any Scriptural mandate. This sort of ostentation is akin to wearing a garish hat with “GOD” written on the front – so that people can keep the Lord on their minds in an absurdly literal fashion.
Desiring the physical over the spiritual – forsaking the symbolism for the symbol and missing the true significance…
Yes… so often in the ministry of Jesus Christ, He is re-teaching the Law to a group of people who had come to worship the Law and forget its Author.
The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test Jesus they asked him to show them a sign from heaven.
He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.”
So he left them and departed.