Cabbage Palm

Cordyline australis, or cabbage palm, is a wonderful plant that produces great spikes of tiny white flowers which the bees love. It is native to New Zealand, and one of the few trees that can recover from a bush fire. I photographed this one growing in my relatives’ Lancastrian front lawn.

Surviving fire must leave a human traumatised and shocked, regardless of whether injuries were sustained. Once again, on Sunday morning, I had recourse to Paul’s admonition to the Corinthian in (first epistle, third chapter) to build using precious materials and not those likely to be destroyed in the fire of God’s testing. He concludes the passage with:

If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (verse 15)

Every Christian escapes the fire of God’s wrath, for Christ bore it on their behalf. The picture here is fleeing a burning house, but taking nothing with you and having nothing of value left in the rubble. Even the shabbiest of Christians, those who have offered little service to the Master, who have wasted their years on hay and straw, will be better off than the richest man in hell. The psalmist observes:

For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. (Ps 84:10)

The cabbage palm may be singed by the flame, but it survives. It then goes on to grow and flower again. I wonder if, in eternity, there will be further opportunities to serve and glorify our Lord, even those whose earthly service was wanting.