Consider the lilies, for all flesh is as grass
It was Basant Panchami the other day and it will be Valentine's Day soon and wherever there's 'spring', ye olde earth is busy putting on lipstick and scent. Every right-minded person should think pink polka dot thoughts tied in perky hello-kitty bows and "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose" (Isaiah 35:1). However, I've been sifting the evidence and I submit, as a paid-up city sparrow, that when you live long years in a cement cage, an industrial-strength dose of faith is required to keep your dil from turning into a 'donut'.
I mean, you're in trouble, right, when you see god-bods on the ramp and instead of saying "Wooo!" like a normal person, you ask the unfeeling universe: "And why take ye thought of raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin" (Matthew 6:28); crabbity subtext: "Wah, some folks have it easy."
Whatever happened, you think guiltily, to the feel-good mag advice about putting that glad little posy on your desk because it's spring and Chanel did an India-themed collection; does it not behoove us to affirm that "The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle (dove) is heard in our land" (Song of Solomon 2:12)?
But even the roses and lilies already scenting your room can't make you cheer the panache of the Beloved: "I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys" (Song of Solomon 2:1). "It's the heat," "No, it's the edge of the universe," you scold yourself, "For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass." (Peter 1:24).
Matthew wins after all (was he really a tax-collector? Was he several Matthews combined? I like 'Matthew' next to Luke, the Greek doctor) for in the matter of lilies, he says firmly, "And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these" (Matthew 6:29). Oh, you think gratefully, he's saying, look at the random beauty around you and realise that while it seems like a pretty random universe, you can tot up blessings and choose to have faith that there is a plan. Lo, phir Basant aayee, no Krispy Kreme, thanks.
Renuka Narayanan writes on religion and culture.