Leaves Toward the Sun

I sat at my desk and looked over my computer screen. There sat a couple plants on the window sill, their leafy greens perked and pointed toward the glass like arms stretched wide toward an approaching loved one.

It never ceases to amaze me. Plants not only need the sun; they seek him out. They grow in such a manner as to maximize their ability to drink in his rays. They reach for him, desperate for his touch.

Who would dare call them slaves to a harsh master? They’re worshippers of their source of life.

Who would dare call the sun unfair and overly demanding for calling all plants everywhere to grow toward him? He’s simply their sole hope for survival, and he wants them to survive. All of them. So his call goes out to every last growing thing, big and small.

“Look and live,” he whispers.

And they look. And they live.

And what flower does not heed the sun’s call? What growing thing rebelliously spreads its leaves away from the sun, toward the shade, groping for darkness? What tree, zealous for the life within its branches, buds, flowers, and fruit, stiff arms the sun and hides from his warm reach?

None, of course. That’d be silly. In fact, it’d be suicidal. The fact that plants grow toward the sun is good and beautiful. The opposite, then, is evil and appalling.

Are we not plants? Do we not stretch out our branches with as much desperation for life as they? And are our flowers less fragrant or less significant because the source of our life does not—cannot—spring up and out of ourselves, but instead we must drink it in from without?

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The sun of our souls stands calling, not unlike the sun of the sky.

“Look and live,” he whispers.

“But it’s hard to grow in that direction,” some say.

It’s death not to.

“But my pot wasn’t placed at a good angle to naturally absorb the sun’s rays.”

You want to live, don’t you? You’re capable of doing whatever it takes. That’s what it means to be alive.

“But I don’t think there should be only one source of life.”

You don’t get to determine the reality of the world in which you live. It is a wonder that there is any source of life.

“I don’t think the sun cares much about me.”

Just look up. His touch is as life-giving to the cedars as it is to the dandelions.

“His demands are too much.”

All he demands is a willingness—and a humility—to feast your soul upon a banquet of untold proportions that you had no hand in preparing. Are you willing be served at the table of the king?

“My heart tells me I’d be better off growing in this other direction.”

Might it be that our hearts are shortsighted and don’t actually know best? What child’s heart tells him his polio vaccine is a good idea? Perhaps with a proper perspective, our hearts might be capable of better advice.

“Look, dear saplings, and live,” the sun—indeed, the Son—whispers.

Oh, for grace to continue stretching out our arms in his direction. That we might live. Forever.

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