Monday, 11 April 2011

‘See, I have picked a little flower…’

                Coming home from school one day I was pleasantly surprised to see a little bundle of flowers beside our deck! With no green in sight, snow just a few feet away and the temperature still not what you would call balmy, they were smiling in all their splendour from the cold, hard soil, as if to say, “I’m here to tell you, warmer and more colourful days are ahead!”
                I stood in awe and couldn’t remember ever being so happy to see the first flowers of spring. I was reminded of another flower with a powerful message, from a poignant story in our history book:

         Summer 1527, Leonhard Kaiser, a former priest was imprisoned at Schärdig in Bavaria and was ‘given over to the flames’ by the bishop of Passau, because of his Anabaptist faith. The Chronicle of the Hutterian Brethren VI states, He was taken to his death bound to a cart, and priests rode beside him to talk to him, though he refused to listen. He stretched his hand down from the cart and picked a flower from the wayside, held it in his hand and said to the judge who was riding beside him, “See, I have picked a little flower; if this flower and I are consumed by the fire, then you have done right. But if not – if I and the flower are not burned and I hold the flower in my hand unconsumed – then think what you have done.”
                They proceeded to burn him with wood but he did not burn. They added more wood and tried to burn him a second time, to no avail. Only his hair burned and his fingernails were a little scorched. He still held the flower, as fresh as when he first picked it. Later when the soot was washed off, ‘his body was still perfectly white’.
He was then cut into pieces and thrown into fire, but they were still unable to burn him. The executioner threw the pieces into the Inn River. The aforementioned judge was so shocked he resigned from his position and moved away from the place.
All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.
They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom and talk of thy power. Psalm 146:10-11

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