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Friday, June 3, 2011


“A rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet. So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called.” (Romeo and Juliet, balcony scene by William Shakespeare)
I was twelve the first time I read Romeo and Juliet. And I only read it because our seventh grade English teacher made me. I remember reading that line and giggling, as I thought about the 12-year old boys sitting around me in class. None of them smelled anything like a rose. Sweet was definitely not the word I would have picked to describe my classmates.

But, 12-year old pre-pubescent boys aside, roses do smell sweet. And they are beautiful, elegant and graceful. They are also delicate, thorny and prone to dying much too soon.

Did you know? Just as the month you are born in has a corresponding “birth stone,” so do you have a birth flower. The birth flower for the month of June is the rose.

Roses come in a variety of colors. Each color represents a unique emotion.
  • Red symbolizes love
  • Pink symbolizes grace and sympathy
  • White symbolizes innocence and humility
  • Yellow symbolizes friendship
  • Orange symbolizes passion  
We even have a very specific color of pink called “rose.”

 As a young adult, my favorite flower was the carnation. I loved the cinnamon-y fragrance and—ever the thrifty bargain hunter—I loved that a bouquet of carnations could last me two weeks; whereas my roses began to droop their little heads after two days. And let’s not even discuss their cost.

Over the years, however, my love of roses has blossomed. My husband found that Costco sells roses. Two dozen of the glorious little delights for a price I could live with. And having learned a trick or two about snipping off the ends and changing the water every two days, I can make my glorious roses keep their heads held high and looking fresh nearly as long as carnations.

When I think about roses, I am reminded of Jesus. Have you heard the contemporary Christian song by Michael W. Smith, Above All? Click here for a video of his song. He compares Jesus to a rose:

You lived to die, rejected alone
Like a rose trampled on the ground
You took the fall
And thought of me above all.

When I think of the characteristics of Jesus and the characteristics of a rose, I see:

The rose is beautiful. Of all flowers, the elegance and beauty of the rose cannot be compared. Roses are simply in a class by themselves. Neither can the beauty that was Jesus’ life be compared to any other human who ever lived or who ever will live. Jesus is beautiful beyond compare.

The rose is graceful. The rose is one of God’s most elegant flowers. Its velvety petals open slowly with an eternal grace that reminds us that it is only through Jesus that God’s grace is poured onto us.

The rose is strong. The rose stands tall. It does not trail or wind, like a sweet pea. It does not bend like a tulip. It is not short like a violet or fragile like lilies of the valley. The rose blossom stands on a strong stem, nearly wood-like in its strength. Its bush can even be trained to grow as a tree. Jesus, too, stood tall while on this earth. We gain strength through Him; we can rely on His strength when we have none of our own. We can stand tall for Him.

The rose has thorns. Symbolic thorns are part of our lives. In fact, thorns are part of who we are—those character flaws that God is working on; those “thorns in our sides” that Paul referred to. Although perfect and without symbolic thorns, Jesus wore real thorns, shaped into a crown by his persecutors as he carried his cross and our sins to Calvary. The rose reminds us of our thorns and that Christ died for them, by taking them on himself.

Roses are a beautiful reflection of God’s beauty. But He gave them a short life. Two weeks if you take special care of them. Jesus’ life was short in human terms. But what He accomplished was powerful and eternal. Doesn't God want us to live our short lives in a powerful way, too? In a way that will have eternal consequences?

Roses reflect God’s desire for us: to live with recognition of His beauty; with grace for others; and with strength in our faith as He works to remove our thorns.  He wants us to live our short lives in a glorious manner. For Him.

Happy birthday to everyone born in the month of June. Remember the rose and think of Jesus.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the beauty you created when you created this earth. Thank you, Jesus, for the beautiful gift of salvation; for letting yourself be trampled in order to grant us your grace. Remind us of your glory every time we look at a rose. Remind us that you rose from the grave—for us. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?  What do you think of when you think of a rose? What do roses represent to you?


lynnesarah said...

I know I'm a little late but I just found your blog and had to comment. This piece you wrote about roses was just lovely. It has given me new insight into something I have often thought little about.

From Carols Quill said...

Thanks so much Lynnesarah. I'm glad you enjoyed this bit about roses. I hope you'll check out my other posts about birth flowers, too.
Thank you so much for stopping by.