In the world of insects, specifically those whose diet contains the pollen or nectar of flowers, a big event has begun. Gray headed coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) and Common Bergamot or (Monarda fistulosa) are in bloom.
A skeptic may say, “big deal” two flowers I ‘ve never heard of, and why are you talking about “here today and gone tomorrow” flowers? Like I said, big deal!”
Pollen is a big deal, so is flower nectar. Pollen is a vital source of protein for bees. It is the male part of the plant, it’s required for the fertilization of the plant. Plant nectar brings pollinators to the stationary plant. Bees and many other insects are attracted to the plant for its sweet nectar. Besides a sweetness that often exceeds that of a soft drink, nectar has health giving amino acids and vitamins and oils essential to insect health. Like a multivitamin, nectar is naturally beneficial to insects. Gray headed coneflower and monarda have joined the summer flower team, the bees know it.
Pollen, and flower nectar are not on the mind of most humans. But they are immense arrangements for life on earth.
When the natural world is in balance, humans can even ignore the pollination process it works with perfect efficiency. With the loss of habitats like prairie we are beginning to realize how significant pollen, nectar and pollinators are to all life on earth. True, it isn’t a “big deal”, it’s nothing short of incalculable in significance.
There is another aspect to these two in bloom now beauties. It’s not a big deal either, it is an infinite miracle. This miracle in a word is fragrance. If it were possible to digitize the fragrances of these two plants and share with you…well, that would be amazing. The fragrance of Gray headed coneflower has been described as a fresh lemony scent. Monarda, bee balm as it is commonly called, is a part of the mint family. It historically has been used for tea, it has and is being used as a digestive aid and even for aromatherapy.
Fragrance, it is in the seed of the coneflower, and in the leaves and flowers of monarda. Each summer season and into the fall my heart and mind are thrilled with the distinct scent of these two flowers. Once you know them it is possible to identify them by fragrance alone. How can a combination of sunlight, water, and soil nutrients produce fragrances like these two native plants have?
The Bible reminds us that those who believe in Jesus have His fragrance. While a Jesus follower still has the sinful human nature, the presence of Jesus in a human life changes every person. It is tangible. The fragrance of Christ is evidenced by the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 There are many people who cannot tolerate the fragrance of perfume or cologne. The fragrance of Christ is, appealing, wholesome. The world needs this fragrance.
The distinct and pleasing fragrance of Gray headed coneflower and that of monarda fistulosa can fill a room. Their scent lingers on your hands after touching them.
The fragrance of Christ Jesus is the true “big deal”. Humans cannot generate it. The fragrances of monarda and gray-headed coneflower come from the same ONE. God is the everlasting Fragrance Maker.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.