As I grow older, I have become more humbled by the many verses in the Bible that can be summed up in the single phrase, God is love. That love is the only explanation I can figure that causes Him to continue to bless humankind.
In response to such gracious love, Jesus taught His disciples a particular Old Testament passage found in Micah 6:8, "He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (NASB).
Three simple things makes you "good?" Not so. Not simple.
To be just means to be fair, impartial, knowledgeable and morally upright. To love kindness is to be more than being kind; it means to show tenderness, forgiveness, patience, attentiveness and a lot more. To walk humbly with the Lord is to accept His presence and forgiveness, His love and redemption, and His wisdom and guidance. It is not a one time meeting. It is a journey.
I was reluctant to include this wildflower, but when I first saw it, it caught my attention quickly. In the more recent years, it seems to have disappeared. Perhaps it had escaped from someone's wildflower patch created from a seed packet or perhaps the recent dry weather has made it scarce. However, because of its beauty, like the beauty of God's love, I want to share it.
The purple lobelia looks like a cross between the Venus' looking-glass and the cardinal flower, cousins within the bellflower family. All three have blooms emerging along a tall stem from the place where leaves attach to the stem. The purple lobelia has the color of the Venus' looking-glass and a shape similar to the cardinal flower.
Purple lobelia starts blooming as early as July and continues until the frost kills it in October or November. The plant ranges in height from 1 to 4 feet. Most that I've seen appear to be about 2 feet.
The bloom is tubular with three petals, though the bottom petal appears to be three petals. The two upper petals are small and remind me of mouse ears. The blooms range in size from 1/2 to 1 inch.
Purple lobelias seem to be more prolific in moist areas like ditches but can be found along margins of woods and hedge rows. The leaves are thin and longer than most other species of lobelia.
Lobelia has a history of herbal usage. The milky sap from the stem was once used to help control asthma but because the concentration of certain properties differs from plant to plant that usage has been abandoned by most herbalists.
Some serious side effects have occurred leaving only the most reckless persons promoting it.
Another use of Lobelia was as a poultice for bruises and insect bites.
May the beauty of this wildflower symbolize the beauty reflected in your daily pursuit "... to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."
Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. Notecards are available of the wildflowers published in the Citizen. His e-mail is email@example.com or call him at 770-929-3697.