Another beautiful flowering plant. This one I photographed on Skeleron Lane one afternoon after chapel. Its petals are intricate and complicated. It is sometimes called pincushion and pink mist, but its Latin name is Scabiosa Columbaria, shortened and anglicised to scabious. I initially recoiled a little from this name: ‘scab’ has neither pleasant sound nor meaning. In fact it's related to another unlovely word- scabies. It was considered a cure for this contagious skin complaint, which causes itchy rashes over the body. As a teenager, I volunteered at the town’s homeless shelter, and was advised not to get close to the ‘clients’, lest I catch this condition, which is caused by burrowing mites. So a rather pretty plant considered a remedy for a most unattractive ailment.

I looked up ‘itch’ in my concordance, finding two negative references. The first was from Deuteronomy 28, listing the likely consequences of Israel’s disobedience:

The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumours, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. (v. 27)

A graphic picture of hell if ever there was one. The second reference is found in Second Timothy 4:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers (verse 3)

Here we see unfaithful ‘Christians’ rejecting truth and employing false prophets and con-men to tell them what they want to hear. I guess the one kind of itching will give rise to the other. Scabious is a beautiful flower, in contrast to the condition after which it is named, and the spiritual states described by the word itch. We must embrace the Truth and submit to Him; only then can we be healed of itches, scabs and tumours.