“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? “
(New Revised Standard Version)
On a recent trip to the Holy Land, I was struck by the vast difference in landscapes and structures as we traveled from place to place in Palestine and Israel. One of the most well preserved structures that we were able to view was the excavated remains of the Herodion just southeast of Bethlehem in Palestine.
From the top of the Herodium (Herodion), a breathtaking view captures the attention of all who venture up the steep climb. Herod the Great’s alternate residence, a sort of “country house” commands the eye of all who approach it. It’s easy to see why one who lived on the top of this ornate structure thought that he commanded the world.
Inside, the excavated baths and gardens in this palace were by 1st century standards elaborate. This massive cone shaped structure housed a fortress, a town, and a palace all in one. Even one of the ritual baths would have been larger than a dwelling for a small family.
The climb down the winding stairs inside can make you dizzy if you go too fast. Stopping for an occasional breath, I wondered if that must be what bees feel like in a hive. Certainly, inside the towers, I felt completely safe and separated from the world outside. What skill and workmanship it took to erect such a massive structure. Yet, this structure in all its glory was no more cared for than the birds and the flowers.
As we descended the outside from about half way down, we saw wild poppies which were more beautiful than this castle could ever have been. What a wonderful Creator, to allow us to think so much of ourselves, and then to show us in the petals of a small red flower who is greater than all of these massive structures.
Dear God, never let me be so full of myself that I cease to be filled with your Spirit. Amen.
Rev. Jan McCoy is the Associate Pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at covingtonfirst.org.