Lesson and Carols: Rose Edition

Prelude

Introduction

Roses exude a sweet perfume and dazzle the eye with their intricate layers of petals.

This Sunday we will reflect on the rose as a symbol within the Christian tradition.

What do roses teach us about God?

Mary, mother of Jesus, is traditionally associated with roses.

In the Catholic tradition, people use the rosary to connect to Christ as they recite a prayer, called the Hail Mary, that honors Mary’s faithfulness. The word rosary means “crown of roses”. To pray the rosary is to offer a crown of roses to Mary and Jesus. In the book The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis De Montfort writes, “Every time people say the Rosary devoutly they place a crown of one hundred and fifty-three red roses and sixteen white roses upon the heads of Jesus and Mary.”

Within Christian history, Mary herself is referred to as the “Mystical Rose.”
Mary is the rose.

In the fourteen-century book, Paradiso, writer Dante tells of his visit to paradise. His guide, Beatrice, invites him to contemplate Mary. Beatrice asks, “Why are you so enamored of my face that you do not turn your gaze to the beautiful garden which blossoms under the radiance of Christ? There is the Rose in which the Divine Word became flesh; here are the lilies whose perfume guides you in the right ways.” (Paradiso, 23 71-75)

Later in Christian history, Jesus became associated as well with the image of the rose.

In the Song of Songs, a lover declares, “I am the rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys” (Song of Songs 2:1). In some interpretations, people see this lover as Christ declaring Christ’s love to the church. Thus, the lover is a rose that blooms in the mountains. The lover is a lily that blossoms in the valleys. Through all terrains, our beloved travels with us, a vision of beauty even when the world seems cold. A scent of soft care even when the world seems harsh.

“I am the rose that blooms in the mountains, the lily that blossoms in the valley,” our God whispers to us.

Call to Worship

Hymn: “All Earth is Waiting”

Invocation

Scripture

Song of Songs 2:1
Luke 3:1-6

Gloria

Offering

Doxology

Offertory Prayer

Prayers of Joy and Concern
Pastoral Prayer

Hymn: “Lo! How a Rose E’er Blooming

Meditations on Roses

In place of a sermon, we will meditate on three artistic pieces that center roses. We will ponder: How might this piece of art be about the spiritual journey? What might it say to you about your spiritual journey?

First, we will listen to the song “The Rose” by Bette Midler.

[Play the song.]

How might this song be about the spiritual journey?

[People share.]

What is it saying to you about your spiritual journey?

[Take a minute of silent reflection, you could also write your response if you have a pen or pencil nearby.]

Blessings on your reflecting.


Next, I will read the poem “What Was Said to the Rose” by Rumi.

What Was Said to the Rose.

What was said to the rose that made it open
was said to me here in my chest.

What was told the Cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was

whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever

was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in
Turkestan that makes them

so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is

being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in
language, that’s happening here.

The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane,

in love with the one to whom every that belongs!


How might this poem be about the spiritual journey?

[People share in a phrase.]

What is it saying to you about your spiritual journey?

[Take a minute of silent reflection, you could also write your response if you have a pen or pencil nearby.]

Blessings on your reflecting.


Last, we will gaze upon the North Rose Window of Notre Dame. See it here.

This rose window from Notre Dame resembles the pattern of a rose while centering Mary and Jesus.

I invite you take a minute of silence to gaze upon it.


How might this stained-glass window be about the spiritual journey?

[People share in one or two words.]

What is it saying to you about your spiritual journey?

[Take a minute of silent reflection, you could also write your response if you have a pen or pencil nearby.]

Blessings on your reflecting.


The good news is that transformation and new life are seeds within you.
The old is passing away. God is making you new.

Thank you, God, for being our Companion.

Amen.

Hymn: “People, Look East”

Benediction

Postlude

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