One of the great hymns of faith is titled "My Hope Is Built." The words were penned in 1834 and set to music in 1863.
The refrain provided me with new insight one Sunday as I was visiting a local church that one of my art students attends. The pastor was preaching on Jesus as the Rock of Ages. The refrain goes, "On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand."
The church I visited was not Baptist, though I am an ordained Baptist minister. That difference in label meant nothing to me because I felt free to join those saints as we stood together on the Solid Rock.
The more I have associated with Christians of other denominations the more I have come to feel that a lot of what theologians argue about is sinking sand that ends in division rather than a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation.
In our world, religious fanaticism is intensifying strife and igniting the flames of war. My concern is that the prayer of Jesus for His followers, made the night before His arrest, be reconsidered.
He said, "that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me" (John 17:21).
Could it be that the majority of the world's population ignores Christianity today because we are splintered into self-serving sects almost as diverse as the species in the wildflower kingdom?WHORLED LOOSTRIFE
Lysimachia quadrifoliaThis variety of loosestrife can be found throughout the average summer in moist locations. That means the dryness of some summers limits the habitat to creek banks and local wetlands.
The plant ranges in height from 1 to 3 feet. The lance-shaped leaves give the plant its adjective "whorled." The Latin "quadrifolia" means four-leafed, the most frequent number of leaves attached at the same spot on the stem; however, there may be as many as six or as few as three on occasion.
The five-petal blooms occur on long stalks rising from the unions of the leaves with the stem, the axil, as illustrated. The yellow blooms, with red specks in the center, also may occur at the top of the plant.
Loosestrife species, perennials, are in the primrose family and the stems sprout from the root year after year.
The whorled loosestrife was used as a tea by Americans Indians to treat kidney and other problems.
One last word about the scripture reference. Many of my friends are as earnest about the authority of the Bible as I am.
Jesus' prayer before going to the Garden of Gethsemane was that "they may all be one." Is that desire of Jesus of equal importance to His command to "Love thy neighbor as thyself" or to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the prisoner?
Let us be about the Master's business with our spiritual feet planted on the Solid Rock.
Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. Notecards are available of the wildflowers published in the Citizen. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 770-929-3697.