Dye Flower

This is Coreopsis Tinctoria, sometimes known as tickseed or dye flower, with tinctorial coming from the Latin word for dying cloth. I found it growing by a block of flats in Oswaldtwistle. A few enterprising folk have gathered its flowers and successfully dyed wool into a rather lovely orange colour. One soaks the heads in warm water and leaves to cool. In goes the wool or fabric, and out it comes a different shade. I’ve never dyed wool and suspect I never shall, but something tells me it is a most satisfying experience.

There are five biblical references to ram skins dyed red for use in the tabernacle’s sanctuary. This speaks to us of Christ the Lamb of God’s bloody sacrifice to atone for sin. Yet in Isaiah 63, a mighty and mysterious one is described, about whom the prophet asks:

Who is this who comes from Edom,

With dyed garments from Bozrah,

This One who is glorious in His apparel,

Traveling in the greatness of His strength?

This dyed colour is also red, verse 2 explains, and the figure Himself offers elaboration in verse 3:

Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments,

And I have stained all My robes.

Here we have two different images of Christ: the red-stained ram skins of the tabernacle and Isaiah’s vision of the bloody victor. The former speaks of His first coming as sacrificial victim, saviour and substitute; the latter of His return- triumphant, terrifying and vengeful. They who recognise His first coming to the earth need not dread His second, for the promise of God to all who believe is:

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.

Isaiah 1:18