THE ROSE--ITS DEEPER MESSAGE
By: Aileen Ludington
I am a rose. Usually simple, ordinary, and abundant.
Yet that is far from my total truth. I can also be complex, extremely rare or extraordinary, and my beauty is often described as perfection itself.
I've been romanticized, poeticized, and lyricized beyond any other flower. I am universally admired, sought after, loved, wept over, and cherished.
When I'm white, I represent purity, and often eternity or heaven. Red is favored by lovers, although pink, yellow, flame, and other shades are much valued as well. Among my kind I am the undisputed queen.
But there's a dark side to my life as well.
Close to the color, beauty, and fragrance--and buried in my lush foliage--are sharp thorns. Those who pluck me must beware, or they will feel the barbs and find themselves wounded and bleeding. What cruel hoax is this? Would not such an experience effectively alienate even my most ardent admirers?
Pray, pause a moment more. There is a deeper message yet. Much of life is a paradox.
Can one properly appreciate bountiful health if one has never been ill? Is an overflowing measure of joy possible in one who has never known sorrow? Does the greatest love flourish where there have been no disappointments or pain?
Therein is my gift, my message to humanity. Beauty can exist even among harsh thorns. Perfection and fragrance can send forth the blessings even while hiding the ugly barbs. The depth of Christ's caring love for humanity shone brightest as He bled from His thorny crown.
Despite ugly scars, deep hurts, and many sorrows, so also can human lives give beauty, fragrance, and blessing to all who pass their way.
Jesus, Rose of Sharon, bloom within my heart;
Beauties of Thy truth and holiness impart,
That where'er I go my life may shed abroad
Fragrance of the knowledge of the love of God.
Jesus, blessed Jesus, Rose of Sharon,
Bloom in radiance
And in love within my heart.
Jesus, Rose of Sharon, sweeter far to see
Than the fairest flow'rs of earth could ever be,
Fill my life completely, adding more each day
Of Thy grace divine and purity, I pray.
Jesus, Rose of Sharon, balm for ev'ry ill,
May Thy tender mercy's healing power distil
For afflicted souls of weary burdened men,
Giving needy mortals health and hope again.
Jesus, Rose of Sharon, bloom forevermore;
Be Thy glory seen on earth from shore to shore,
Till the nations own Thy sov'reignty complete,
Lay their honors down and worship at Thy feet.