Tag: Rose

Consider the lilies of the field – or roses even!

A reflection by Christine Cox
(Evangelism Enabler at St Mary-at-Latton, Harlow)
based on Luke 12:24

Have you ever looked at a rose; really looked at it as it progresses from bud, to fully open flower?  At first the bud is tight, covered in a green skin, it is impossible to tell what colour it will be or how big, or if it will have a scent.  Then, with the warmth of the sun, the green case begins to crack and glimpses of colour show through.  The green retreats, and a tight coloured bud is revealed, the layers of petals are wrapped tight on one another and the full beauty of the flower remains hidden.  Then as the sun continues to encourage, the petals start to unfurl, and the rose is revealed in its full beauty, some with deep yellow stamens at their heart, and they suffuse the air around them with their rich scent.

It could be a parallel with us, and what we can become if we stay close to the warming love of God.  We start as unpromising buds, wrapped tight in the covering of what we show to the world.  Then slowly as we start to develop our relationship with God, the mask starts to crack and glimpses of what we can be begin to show through.  If we continue searching for the knowledge of God, through prayer and study we start to show more of our true selves, the people that God created us to be, we start to show the beauty of a life lived in God’s way.  As we grow and learn, we continue to open, to show the full beauty of our creator, and suffusing all those around us with the beauty and scent of God’s love.

But as with a rose there are things that can prevent us from developing into the flower that God wants us to be.  There are the pests, the cares of the world, the diversions and concerns, fears, and influence from others that block us from drawing close to God.  There are times when we really have to focus on the love of God for us, and cling on close.  It is not easy, we feel dry and shrivelled, we cannot bloom.  But God continues to love us, he freely offers the water and nourishment that we need.  At times, it seems that our very wretchedness gives Him the opening to help us to grow.   So, considering the lily of the field, we can be certain, that no matter what the situation, God’s love will continue to draw us closer to Him and we will become the people that He wants us to be.

Mary’s rose

photo | Gill Henwood

Today the church keeps the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
her birthday! So a friend of mine, Gill Henwood, has sent me a Rose.
I thought it churlish to keep it to myself so I’m sharing it.

Gill wrapped her rose in a quotation by St John Henry Newman:
Holy Mary, Mystical Rose, you are the most beautiful flower created by God,
in venerating you we praise God for his holiness and beauty.

In the hymn, Crown Him with many Crowns  the second verse reads:

Crown him the Virgin’s Son,
the God incarnate born,
whose arm those crimson trophies won
which now his brow adorn:
fruit of that mystic Rose,
as of that Rose the Stem;
the Root whence mercy ever flows,
the Babe of Bethlehem.

The ‘mystic Rose’ referred to here is Mary but Jesus is the ‘fruit’ of that Rose and its stem and root – from whence all mercy flows.

The link is that Jesus and Mary are both engaged in the salvation of the world . Her‘ Yes’ to the Angel Gabriel, and thus to God the Father, opens the way for the Incarnation as she gives birth to Jesus. The ‘Babe of Bethlehem’ becomes the way God chooses to save us and free us and love us into His Kingdom, by the way of  Cross.  The Babe of Bethlehem is the instrument of that salvation  Jesus is the God Incarnate born,  who’s brow is now adorned with the potent symbol of the Crucifixion, the Crown of Thorns. Through this suffering and self-giving on the Cross the love of God, poured into Mary at the birth of Jesus, is poured out from Jesus Himself upon and for us all.

We are reminded that the Manger and the Cross are linked together in Jesus, or as T S Eliot puts it in The Four Quartets (Little Gidding) –The Rose  and  the Crown are one – Incarnation and Crucifixion totally intertwined in God’s plan for us and for our salvation and for the redeeming and re-creation of the world.

The result as Eliot puts it, echoing Julian of Norwich, ‘All Shall be Well’  All manner of things shall be well. We shall be well and though it is not always obvious, the world and all creation shall be well.

Enjoy the Rose.  By quite a process it can be a sign of God’s inexpressible and unconditional Love for you – for all.

Thank you Gill. Thank you God!!!

Gill served as my colleague when she was our curate at Whitechapel and Admarsh-in-Bleasdale in Lancashire . She is a great joy to me.