Minister’s Column: Sunflowers as the Symbol of Religious Education at UUCPA

When I was eight years old, we planted sunflowers in the garden. This was our first time. Normally we’d grow pumpkins or pansies but I had asked my mother if we could try these flowers. Their giant sunny heads and huge stakes fascinated me. I didn’t understand how a mere flower could be taller than me. 

Little did I know then that we weren’t just growing a singular sunflower here and a singular sunflower there. For every flower of the sunflower actually contains thousands of flowers. Much like Walt Whitman, sunflowers too contain multitudes. 

That’s one reason why I chose the sunflower to represent our RE program this year. The flower itself honors the multitude of perspectives our Unitarian Unviersalist faith implores us to explore. The flower also contains the multitudes of all of us, the huge diversity of experience and knowledge in our RE teachers and volunteers, in our students themselves. 

Another reason why I believe the sunflower represents our RE program is just as the sunflower grows big and tall with time, patience, lots of nutrition, so do our children in their spiritual journeys. RE is the nutrition and the environment that fosters spiritual understanding, knowledge of our faith and knowledge of the wide array of human experience. Sunflowers also don’t tend to grow alone, just like flowers we grow together. 

Lastly I picked the sunflower because it is a symbol of hope in difficult times. It is easy to find joy in a bright yellow sunflower on a gray day. Sunflowers not only tend to grow quickly but they remove toxins from the ground. It is no wonder that the sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine and that it is a symbol there of resilience in the face of tyranny and oppression. May the lessons we learn from RE provide the same sort of resilience and reason for hope. 

Blessed be, 

Rev. Cat


Photographer mscolar from Pixabay