From the Rectory – February

For the incurable romantic looking for a twist on the traditional gift for Valentine’s Day, a rose is always a good place to start. But why go with red? Rose breeders have produced some striking alternatives, ranging from a dark purple to striped white and pink. There’s no shortage of imaginative names for these blooms either, as the ‘Neil Diamond’, the ‘Ketchup & Mustard’ and the ‘Joseph’s Coat’ are all potential choices. When money is no object, one enthusiastic retailer offers a natural rose dipped in 24 karat gold, keenly priced at only £129!

Roses have long been connected with the concept of love. In his poem ‘A Red, Red Rose’, Scottish poet Robert Burns compares a new love to the freshness of a rose. Emily Bronte takes the same rose motif, but it is a broken rose that for her speaks of love. And William Shakespeare, in perhaps the most famous line in his best known play, has Juliet speak of her great love Romeo as ‘A rose by any other name would smell so sweet’.

Flowers can be fragile, fragrant and aromatic, and also stunningly beautiful.

It’s their beauty that Jesus draws the attention of his disciples to when speaking to them about the futility of worry.

‘Look how the wild flowers grow!’ says Jesus, ‘They don’t work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn’t as well clothed as one of these flowers’

The tenacity of wild flowers despite their seeming fragility is extraordinary. Even in some of the bleakest of landscapes, on the sheerest of clifftops, it’s possible to find flowers that bloom. Punching through the smallest cracks in concrete or pushing back the boundaries of desserts, their strength works as a metaphor for love itself.

In a month where we particularly acknowledge the love of one person for another, the power of God’s love for us, his creation, despite all we do and despite all we say, is something worth celebrating.

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