Friday, June 25, 2010

The Beautiful 'Bonica' Roses

In June, the roses in Central New York come into their glory. Whatever the type, hybrid or not, roses seem to peak around Father's Day each year. Some last until the first heavy freeze, while others last just a few weeks. But it seems appropriate that the rose, in some ways representing the deep and profound love between God the Father and Christ the Son, would be seen best at Father's Day.

As Caretaker of the Gethsemane Prayer Garden at Faith Chapel, I often have the opportunity to tell and show people about how the flowers can take on special meanings. Many times, people encouraged me to write this down, so finally in the fall of 2009, I wrote "A Garden of Love." The following is an excerpt from that book which uses the 'Bonica' rose for its subject:

Oh the exquisite rose! I take such pleasure in how the hue changes on each flower as it matures – intense colors when they first open, leading to muted but still beautiful tones over time. Through the rose, possibly more than with any other flowers, God's awesome love extends, reveals, and touches us in greater intimacy with him.

The Jackson-Perkins catalog describes their roses as stunning, striking, luscious, fragrant, elegant, graceful, dramatic, captivating, fabulous, vibrant, exceptional, long-lasting, delightful, and irresistible. These same words could be applied even more to Jesus.

The roses are the stunning centerpiece of the garden: the pink ones remind us of his softness and gentleness; the white ones bring to mind his purity and elegance; and the red roses remind us of his unfailing love for us. Our perfect rose, "crucified in weakness" (2 Cor 13:4), without spot or blemish, was jeered at, mocked, beaten, flogged, and tortured. He loves us that much.

He is also loved by his Father that much. Immediately after Jesus was baptized, a voice from heaven said, "This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy" (Matthew 3:17). The same words were spoken at the Mount of Transfiguration where Peter, James, and John heard God's voice from a bright cloud: "This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him" (Matthew 17:5). God spoke of his great love of Jesus, his Son. Here are some other verses to consider:
"The Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing" (John 5:20).

"The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded" (John 10:17,18).

[Father,] "you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. … you loved me even before the world began!" (John 17:21,24).
Collectively, these verses assure us of the true and deeply intimate love relationship between God the Father and Christ the Son, even before the world began. The love relationship that was established between God and his people began as he created the world – the profound love between God and his Son began even before that.

Love is contagious – this love does not end with the Father / Son, for it includes us:
[Father,] "I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me" (John 17:22,23).
Bob Sorge, in his marvelous book "The Fire of God's Love," describes God's love:
The most sublime theme in all of Scripture is the love of God. There is nothing higher or nobler toward which we can direct our meditation. God's love is altogether wonderful, beyond our complete comprehension, and entirely inexhaustible in its scope and intensity.
Many of the attributes of the rose help remind us of these same attributes in Jesus. He is infectiously beautiful and his love is contagious beyond all measure. His love is profuse and his love is profound.

Copyright © 2009 Bible Discernments

End Note: The overall theme for this series of articles is flowers and plants, showing how they point to love. Sometimes I write 'how to' do something, other times the emphasis is a status update, or the article will be about how a plant or flower touched my heart. All of these writings are based on plants from the Gethsemane Prayer Garden in Syracuse, NY. Please consider some of the other blog articles: Index of Articles About the Gethsemane Prayer Garden.