This plant is called Butter-and-Eggs, as charming a name as its alternative, Common Toadflax, is off-putting. It’s rather like the snapdragon, a more domesticated garden regular, in the manner in which insects consume its nectar. The bee must summon its strength to prize open the flower’s underlip in order to access the treasure within. We get used to seeing a bumble bee get stuck inside a snapdragon flower, wiggling its rump until exit is achieved. One wonders why the flower, keen as it must be to attract pollinators, seems to make it so difficult.

What of the Kingdom of God? Obtaining salvation is spectacularly simple- all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Yet the Lord sometimes makes it more difficult than it must necessarily be. He said in Luke 16:16:

“The kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it".

There are interesting interpretations of this verse but I suspect it refers either to the ambition and drive required to become a Christian, or the opposition members of the kingdom face having entered it. We are to anticipate persecution, spiritual attack, ridicule. Those who would feast on Christ’s nectar must needs battle Apollyon, withstand the devil’s fiery darts and overcome all manner of adversity. Whichever interpretive route we favour, the point is the same: being a Christian is not easy. Not easy, but worth it. If the bee did not so love the Butter-and-Eggs’ nectar so much, it wouldn’t go to all the trouble. For millennia, men and women have sought the God of heaven, overcoming hurdles, obstacles, opposition and hardship. The path to destruction is easy street; the path to life is well worth the trouble.

Top: Butter-and-Eggs; bottom: Snapdragon