The season of Lent has begun, and the second Sunday of the season is this coming Sunday. Holy Week, that begins with Palm Sunday, is only four weeks away.Many significant events occurred during the brief period before that last week: the raising of Lazarus from the grave, blessing the children, and inviting Himself to supper with Zacchaeus.
The raising of Lazarus was a prelude to His Resurrection, a preparation for the disciples to accept the possibility of the Easter sunrise.
The blessing of the children demonstrated all people are acceptable to Him, that is, don't leave anybody out.
The supper with Zacchaeus pushes His acceptance farther. Even tax collectors who served the "evil" Roman conquerers were worthy of His sitting and eating at their table.
Easter is the ultimate expression of God's love. The biblical records tell how Jesus endured rejection of His teachings, mockery of His Messiahship, and humiliating death as a criminal.
The purpose of Lent is to prepare ourselves through self-examination for the celebration of Easter. We examine our attitudes, actions, and innerselves. Who are we in reality and whom do we need to become to be worthy of the name, Christian?
Our roadsides each spring erupt with a lavish display of wildflowers. Today's plant, rugosa rose, is the epitome of adversity and beauty amid an extremely thorny environment.
For many years, I have watched this rose spread along the roadside each spring. As I head north from Conyers on Highway 20, these wild roses will soon be blooming for about a mile around Hightower Trail. This weekend, they only appear as very dark green leaves.
The funny thing is they are primarily on the east side of the highway. I first noted them north of Bethel Road in a patch about 200 feet long. As with all roses, the flower dies and forms a rose hip that contains seeds.
The spread of these plants may have occurred by birds but I suspect that maintenance crews mowing the right-of-way in late spring are the primary factor.
Rugosa rose has an extensive root system which aids its invasive nature. The blooms have five white petals with lots of yellow stamens, as illustrated. The leaves are palmate with three leaflets.
The most distinguishing characteristic is the red stem that is totally covered with thorns. I know of no other plant so thoroughly covered with thorns.
The biblical account of Jesus' crucifixion relates many instances of His being mocked. Words hatefully slung were many, but then He was given a crown made of a thorny vine to add to the suffering already caused by the scourging.
Though I doubt that the thorny vine was rugosa rose, its presence reminds me of the infamous crown.
May the worship you attend this Sunday be a special blessing as you continue your Lenten journey.
Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. Notecards are available of the wildflowers published in the Citizen. His email is email@example.com or call him at 770-929-3697.