The most wonderful thing about these thorny bushes? They are gloriously garlanded with roses. It’s more common to say the rose bush has thorns- but as Lent progresses I’d like to change that focus. Last Friday’s post stated “There will be thorns…” and looked at the way Jesus embraced the trials on the Way of the Cross. Our own lives contain suffering too- it’s not a strange or unexpected thing. We will see thorns as well as roses.
Roses are gorgeous. Most people like them. The colours, the perfume, the shapes: so much variety of sheer beauty.
The life and character of Jesus, the divine become incarnate human, is as gloriously attractive as a rose. Most of the ordinary people loved Him, listened with open hearts, and found a window opening onto Heaven’s lovely landscape. The power-hungry, greedy, misguided and mistaken people of influence objected to this “new” King and Kingdom. Jesus did not fit their agendas nor their preconceived ideas. Jesus spoke of love and holiness within the ones who trusted and obeyed; this threatened the structures and ideas of the elite- and their traditions. Jesus spoke of bringing healing and forgiveness to the sick and sinful, as opposed to being a doctor for the self-diagnosed healthy! The rose, despite its beauty, had to go.
Like a rose, trampled on the ground…
I love the song that contains these words. It poetically pictures the tragedy of Good Friday and the Cross, and explains the Love that allowed this to happen. The One above all, the One who created all, is the One who loves all- even when the object of that Love rejects and despises the Beauty of ALL Beauty. The Rose is discarded, and trampled, and wasted- just like the petals thrown as confetti are walked over by the guests and then swept away as rubbish. For this Friday in Lent, consider this rose and the trampling of heavy boots. “These boots are made for walking… and one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you…” This is the price of Love, and the reason for the Trial, the whips, the Crown of Thorns and the Cross. I know we want to skip over the sad part, and jump to Resurrection Morning- but we can’t. Not if we truly want to understand, honour, and worship Christ, the Rose of eternal beauty. Reflect on these song words, use them as a prayer. Make sure you understand that Christ thought of YOU, and of ME.
Jesus took the Fall for the Fallen. He offered beauty for ashes. God entered fully the incarnate nature of humanity, made for glory yet beset by shame, and in ways theologians have struggled to express, God brought salvation to the world fallen from grace. That grace embraced the trampling and asks that we embrace Jesus, the One trampled in our place. Is that too much to ask?
Above all powers, above all kings
Above all nature and all created things
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man
You were here before the world began
Laid behind the stone
You lived to die
Rejected and alone
Like a rose trampled on the ground
You took the fall
And thought of me
Then focus on the shortest Bible verse, describing Jesus at the grieving for Lazarus: John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” Sometimes grief is good.
Song: © Lenny LeBlanc | Paul Baloche
© 1999 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music / LenSongs Publishing (Admin. by Small Stone Media)
Credits: Quotation from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Photographs copyright © Richard Starling, 2018