Puzzling Pictures 11: Odd Man Out

Which was the odd man out? It was a difficult question to answer. Perhaps I should have added that I took the photo at Brockholes Nature Reserve, in the month of May, a couple of years ago. Here we are by the lakeside, formed from the excavated pits of what was once a gravel quarry.

And here is the odd man out, wings together, looking like a fragment of brown bark or an aged leaf.

With wings open wide, our butterfly takes on an altogether more colourful look.

I wonder whether any nature-loving reader would care to identify it for us? I don’t think it would be too much trouble for some of you. Perhaps you could also identify the curiously-marked moth that appeared in the photo below the butterfly?

As shown, both insects stand out from their surroundings. In a darker setting, they would be much more difficult to distinguish, of course. I probably wouldn’t have noticed them at all.

When a preacher wishes to stir up his hearers to greater activity in terms of work and witness, he will sometimes fall back on this familiar question: “If Christianity was a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” He will then go on to suggest that if we do not stand out in the society in which we live, then there has been too much compromise: we have found it more convenient, more comfortable, to blend in with our background - like the mottled moth in leaf litter, or the butterfly at ease on the brown tree bark.

Indeed, who could doubt that this is the case with most of the self-styled Christians in most of the so-called Christian churches in this country today? And then, our preacher might well go on to encourage his congregation by referring to one or more of those bible passages which (in the KJV) contain the expression “peculiar people”: e.g., Deuteronomy 14.2 and 26.18, Titus 2.14, and 1 Peter 2.9.

Taking the two texts from the NT, how are they rendered in the ESV? 

Titus 2.14: “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

1 Peter 2.9: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

These two texts would furnish material for more sermons than you could manage to listen to in a month of Sundays. So, let me ask you instead - if you have the time and the inclination - to take a look at the two texts in context; and then, as an avowed member (if so you are) of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession(1 Peter 2.9), to consider precisely what it is that you are therefore intended to (a) avoid and (b) undertake. There will be quite a few points for you to ponder, I’m sure.

You can make a mental checklist, if you like, and fill it in for yourself: “if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2.3) 

Does the evidence add up? 

Well, I’ll leave that one with you.