“Shine like stars,” the garlic chives seem to say, waving in the gentle breezes that have graced us this September. The bright, dainty white flowers have dazzled our garden reliably over the years, calling attention to the budding fall. Each diminutive blossom opens to a star-shaped, six-petal form, clustered atop a bold stem, fanning out like fireworks-sparkled bursts. Their cheerful appearance makes them stand out against the hot, exhausted, end-of-summer landscape, appearing as could-be scenery for this Scripture from Philippians:
Do everything without grumbling and arguing so that you may be blameless and pure, innocent children of God surrounded by people who are crooked and corrupt. Among these people you shine like stars in the world because you hold on to the word of life. Philippians 2:14-16 CEB
Fresh and faithful they bloom after any sort of summer—furnace blast or stormy deluge—seeming to brush aside skirmish and grumble, as if they had been present with their Allium cousins in the Sinai. Remember the murmurs of the Israelites, pressed by discomfort and disrupted lifestyles as they wandered the desert? They cried for Allium ampeloprasum, Allium cepa, and Allium sativum: Leeks, onions, and garlic.
The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. Numbers 11:4-5 NIV
While garlic chives, Allium tuberosum, were not mentioned in the moaning, we can still be mesmerized by the convergent comparison of two passages that encourage us to refrain from complaint. Their botanical connection may be faint, but enough for a gardener to glimpse a metaphor.
There is little dispute that our world has become “warped and crooked (NIV),” “brutal and perverse (TPT),” and “squalid and polluted (MSG).” Yet God’s Word offers us a way out, a much-needed departure, hallelujah! We are not destined to be darkened by the degradation around us, but instead reflect the light of the Lord in his Word of life. Yet neither are we to bury feelings of frustration and grousing; rather, the Word of life has propelling force to move us out of grousing into glory-light.
You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. 2 Samuel 22:29 NIV
For the Lord our God has brought us his glory-light. I offer him my life in joyous sacrifice. Psalm 118:27 TPT
…giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:12 NIV
Like a late-summer garden planted with garlic chives, let us be ready to uplift a friend, family member, and fellow citizen, lighting up our surroundings with the harmonious, twinkling, energizing heritage we have in belonging to God.
Growing Garlic Chives
Garlic chives grow easily from seed. There are few planting situations where you can truly toss seeds over the ground and forget about them; garlic chives have made me a lazy gardener! They are neither particular about soil nor needy for fertilizer. Clearly, as these garden photos testify, they come through drought-stricken situations like our Texas summer standing tall. They will tolerate full sun or partial shade, though blooms are bigger and more abundant in the sunny spots. In my Zone 8 garden, they are evergreen; in cooler climates, they return perennially from their bulbs.
For more information on growing garlic chives, visit the Herb’n Cowgirl
Cooking with Garlic Chives
This easy to grow herb makes a happy addition to the kitchen. Chives’ mild garlic flavor makes them perfect for dishes where only a hint of savory subtlety will do. Alternately, let them deepen a more pungent, garlic-centered recipe with a homegrown layer of flavor. Baked potatoes, biscuits, steamed grains (rice, quinoa, barley, etc.), salads and salad dressing—all benefit from chopped chive leaves tossed in the cooking pot.
For harvesting, you can unearth and dice a whole plant, bulb to blade tip, or trim handfuls of the leaves and leave the bulb to grow and replenish.
Shine Like Stars Prayer
OK, Alliums: You have caught our attention and turned us to God. Good work! Let us enter into prayer with the Words of Our Lord Jesus:
“I am light to the world and those who embrace me will experience life-giving light, and they will never walk in darkness.” John 8:12 TPT
You are the One, Lord Jesus, who beckons us to embrace you; let me say ‘yes’ to your embrace and be surrounded in your saving grace. We pray to be filled with His glorious light and shine like stars to the world around us. O Lord, with renewed hearts, we offer your Words confirming Your indwelling light:
I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16 NIV
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16-18 The Message
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV
Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Micah 7:8 NIV
Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord. Isaiah 2:5 NIV
For you are all children of light. You are sons and daughters of the day. We are not created of night, nor are we owned by darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:5 VOICE
God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. Genesis 1:16 NIV
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Psalm 147:4 NIV
Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession? Song of Songs 6:10 NIV
Your commandments are my counselors. Your Word is my light and delight! Psalm 119:24 TPT
Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:3 NIV
You are only truly happy when you walk in total integrity, walking in the light of God’s Word. Psalm 119:1 TPT
O Lord, thank you for capturing my attention in a common garden plant, and connecting your Word to the land to help ground me in its guidance. I don’t want to give a place in my life for the world’s warped ways; instead, I want to be filled and directed by your glory-light. May I walk with you, grow affection for You and Your Words, and “shine like stars” for you, proving your Word right here in my everyday life: You turn my darkness into light (2 Samuel 22:29).
Arise! Shine! Your light has come; the Lord’s glory has shone upon you. Though darkness covers the earth and gloom the nations, the Lord will shine upon you; God’s glory will appear over you. Nations will come to your light and kings to your dawning radiance. Isaiah 60:1-2 CEB
Learn more about growing Alliums and their Scriptural significance in my new book, My Father is the Gardener, chapter 10. Orders available now through my publisher, BRIT Press
God’s Word for Gardeners Bible digs into leeks, onions, and garlic in devotions on Cultivating, beginning on page a-27
Photo Credits: ©2022 Shelley S. Cramm
CEB notes Scripture quotations taken from the Common English Bible © 2011 Common English Bible, Nashville, Tennessee. All Rights Reserved. The CEB translation was funded by the Church Resources Development Corp, which allows for cooperation among denominational publishers in the development and distribution of Bibles, curriculum, and worship materials.
MSG/The Message denotes Scripture quotations taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries.
NIV denotes Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.®
TPT denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018, 2020 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ThePassionTranslation.com
VOICE denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Voice™. Copyright © 2012 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.