[image: Darling Buds, 2014, JA Van Devender]
Psalm 27:4 (NKJV)
4 One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.
Sonnet XVIII, Shakespeare...
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
In one sense there is nothing "new" in the news today. The US is stil bumbling around, confused and inept in the face of the swirling chaos that threatens the peace and security of the entire world. A rabid bigot has shouted "Heil Hitler" and started shooting people at a Jewish synagogue... and winds up killing four Christians. The bodies of seven small children were found in a garage in Utah... in a little town called "Pleasant Grove" of all things. On infant had been still born, the other six were murdered by their mother.
You know... different details... same old "news."
Occasionally we have to forcefully remind ourselves that, while sorrow and grief are appropriate in the face of such reminders, despair is not. There are times when we have to "search out" the good, the beautiful and the holy. God has not left Himself without a witness (Acts 14:17) and that witness is present all about us. In the context of the Acts passage, Paul speaks of that which "fills our hearts with food and gladness," and he grounds that observation on the "goodness" of the physical world we inhabit. Sometimes we have to shift from the world of man with its delusional tribute to the idea of man's autonomy and its steady, contradicting testimonies to the utter depravity that lies in mankind's heart and surfaces so regularly in such things as quoted above. Sometimes we have to move "to infinity and beyond" and look to the often unreported good news that is even more prevalent than those horrors that are reported. Sometimes we have to notice a flower bud and ponder its witness to the truth of life in this world and the hope that lies beyond it toward which it is moving.
Shakespeare spoke of the "darling buds of May" as a metaphor for the beauty of youth and it lead him to the solemn contemplation that all too soon, such beauty is lost as the buds are shaken when "Summer's lease" is too-soon over. The Scriptures cast this same metaphor when it likens men's lives to "flowers in the field, which soon wither." But there is something eternal in the bud and the field's flower... there is delicacy and beauty themselves... and the promise that though the present instace of them will pass, yet in due time and after the trials of a desperate heat in true Summer and the devastating cold of true Winter, that same delicacy and beauty will again demonstrate their immortality.
We, on occasion, have to remind ourselves that is death that truly dies... and it is life that eternally lives. The recurring news, the type that sells anyway, celebrates death in all its manifold horrors, but those reported things are passing... and it will be the unreported beautiful things that prove eternal.
The promise of the flower bud is that more is coming... that soon the bud will show forth the latent colors and fullness of its true glory... it is forward looking to that which is bright and beautiful and which will again grace this earth even if its mortal heralds wither and die prior to the culmination.
The Psalmist understood this very well. When tough times pressed all about him and all of the reported news was grim, discouraging and unedifying, he turned his eyes to the beauty which is "The Lord" and which is reflected in various ways all about us. The eternal beauty and colors which are instantiated in each appearance of a flower bud is just one facet of the Person of God Who possesses all beauty and distributes it in revelation of His Person. We also bear witness to this beauty, and not, contra Shakespeare, only in the bloom of youth, but also in the progress of "ages and stages", as each is shaped and influenced by God's indwelling Spirit enabling our walk and testimony. All things are beautiful in the due season... and every season is beautiful in its own integrity... what is true of the seasons of nature is true for human lives also.
The reported news proclaims that death is everywhere triumphant, unstoppable and vicious. The unreported news, often mutely expressed in such things as a flower bud, is that we must look elsewhere for the whole truth, even the whole truth of things that seem so depressing.
We must behold the beauty of the Lord, the perfection of His ways, and the confident hope that it is the beautiful things of this world that are truly eternal... and the rest is just dross, to be burned away in due time.