Sunflower and Sunshine

looking_atsunflowers

A field of Sunflowers follow the Sun in UNISON

From Sunset to Sundown

Day after Day, they Display

Their loyalty and admiration

Like a beautiful dance before the Father

“They speak without a word

Their voice is never heard

Yet their message has gone through the world.”

(Psalm 19:3-4)

–Vanessa

Young sunflowers follow the sun from East to West across the sky as dawn slowly turns to dusk. A young sunflower’s flower head faces the sun to receive the sunlight it needs for photosynthesis. Heliotropism is the term for a plant’s ability to follow the sun. That ability allows a sunflower to move with the sun as it arcs across the sky from east to west; the sunflower’s bloom always faces the sun.

The neck of the sunflower’s stem, just below the bloom, points the bloom in the direction of the sun. In early morning, plant cells on the western side of the stem begin to grow and elongate, causing the sunflower bloom to tilt toward the sun. As the sun moves across the sky, the cells on the stem’s side that is opposite the sun elongate, keeping the flower head facing the sun.

“It’s the first example of a plant’s clock modulating growth in a natural environment, and having real repercussions for the plant,” Stacey Harmer, professor of plant biology at University of California-Davis said in a statement. And the sunflower doesn’t stop tracking the sun after the sun dips below the horizon. The sunflower’s bloom continues to move until it faces east, putting the flower head in position to catch the sun’s morning rays. Sometimes, the flower faces east before the sun fades completely in evening. When the sunflower plant matures, the neck of its stem no longer grows, and tracking of the sun’s arc ceases. The blooms of most mature sunflowers face east, but some face other directions.

Psalm 19:6 (NLT), says “The sun rises at one end of the heavens
 and follows its course to the other end. 
Nothing can hide from its heat.” Much like David says in Psalm 19, as the sun rises on one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end, sunflowers are part of God’s creation that also point us to the Father. Until they are mature and pollinate, the sunflowers follow the direction of the sun, just as we are called to follow the Son. The sun is radiant; it can give power to over 20 million houses for 30 million years. The sun provides more than 1,500 times more energy than humanity currently uses. “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame,” Psalm 34:5.

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When my sister and I took a class at Church together a couple of years ago, the teacher asked us to ask the Father what He calls us, that we all have a special name the Lord calls us. After spending some time in prayer, God revealed to me that He calls me radiance! I was ecstatic that I actually had a name from Him, my own personal name He calls just me. I could see how throughout life, I saw hints of it, but didn’t know until that moment why. Family and friends use to always call me Sunshine and sing to me, “You are my Sunshine, my only Sunshine.”

When emoji’s came out and we were all using them like they were going out of style, I couldn’t think of a nickname emoji for my sister, so I used a Sunflower. I am not crazy about flowers, but have always LOVED Sunflowers and never really knew why, other than they were just bright and beautiful and there was something almost mysterious and jubilant about them. I used the sunflower emoji for my sister because I looked at it as beautiful. When she was given her name from the Lord, it was Beatitude! Of course, we knew Daddy was speaking right to us.

Fast forward a couple years and I am driving through a desert on my way to my parents house. Nothing on either side, but dry land and weeds. That particular Saturday morning, I noticed something I had never noticed before. In the midst of all the dry land and weeds were a bunch of beautiful baby sunflowers!! I almost cried. In all the years I had been doing that drive, I had never seen that before. That afternoon, I met my sister at the Mission Inn in Riverside and we walked around the Farmer’s Market. As I was telling her about the sunflowers I had seen in the field, a girl walked past us with a sunflower in her hair. As we kept walking, we almost missed a sunflower painting on the wall of one of the restaurants we walked by and the sunflower centerpieces on the café tables. People passing us by on the streets carrying bouquets of sunflowers they just purchased at the farmer’s market and we were suddenly in the middle of what seemed to be our own sunflower field! We had no idea why we kept seeing sunflowers, but we just kept taking it in as if we knew there was more to it.

That afternoon, my sister suggested we look up some information on sunflowers and see what was there. That’s when it all came together! That’s when we learned that sunflowers rotate to follow the arc of the sun! Like children following the movements of mom or dad to grow and are dependent on their every move, sunflowers mature and grow through being dependent on the sun, it’s rays and it’s movement.

Everything in creation speaks of heaven, speaks of God and His masterpiece that is this world we live in. We lose sight of that because we are a culture that is just too busy or too technologically social, but not cultivating personal face-to-face relationships. Like the sunflower follows the sun, we as God’s children are called to follow His Son! As we are dependent on Him for our every need and follow His every move and step, we become more like Him, act like Him, talk like Him, walk like Him and love like Him! As the sunflowers mature, they begin to pollinate and birth more sunflowers. As we grow and mature, we start spreading the Good News of the Gospel and discipling the nations, and that starts by the sphere of influence right around us. My sister had a vision one day of us standing in a field of sunflowers. What God showed through that is those sunflowers were people, they were covenant-keeping children holding hands and running free in a field. As we all learn to live the Word of God in a way we have never seen lived out before, as we look past the stigma’s and fears that have kept us bound and as we take the risk to learn to love other’s differently, we will see that field of sunflowers dancing before the Father with singing and rejoicing, for a new covenant is being lived out.

References:

http://www.tylerpaper.com/TP-Gardening/239282/science-how-sunflowers-follow-the-sun-each-day

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/sunflower-move-73855.html

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