Bird of Paradise

This week after coming home from a long day, my daughter could not wait to show me something about the ‘bird of paradise’ flower that was sitting in a vase in our house. For those of us in Australia, we know this plant is flowering prolifically all around us at the moment. My daughter had spent the afternoon with her Tayta (my mother), who had told her to remind me of something. She stood me in front of the flower and said ‘what do you see?’.

I told her I was too tired for games and told her to just tell me. She replied ‘Tayta told me to tell you, this is the Holy Spirit.’

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Bird of Paradise in bloom

I am constantly reminded by the Syriac writers that Creation all around us is intended by God to be a revelation. It is no accident that for us in the Southern hemisphere this flower in this season.Looking at this beautiful photo taken by Emily Dibby Dib, the blue sky reveals to us the heavenly realm. The greenery of the bush and the flower which looks like a bird reminds us of the Garden of Paradise. Paradise belongs outside time and space, but is a direct source of well-being for life on earth. “Blessed is He who exalted Adam and caused him to return to Paradise.” (from Hymns on Paradise from St Ephrem)

The bird, descending like a dove encompasses the Spirit of the Living God. The birds colours of red and orange are reflective of the divine and the tongues of fire referred to in Acts 2:3.

The blue which can be seen in the flower is reflective of Mary, who is in Syriac theology was centre stage in the pentecost scene. Mary, the ‘bride’ and the ‘arc of the new covenant’, is representative of Church.

So get into creation with your family this weekend, and be reminded of God’s warmth and the Spirit all around you.

Blessed Pentecost to you all.

Theresa Simon


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