He handed it to me and said with a grin, "a rose for a rose!" I was taken back a bit. I'd never thought of myself as a rose. Years have passed and that person whom I held dear is no longer here. I have since developed a love for roses and whenever possible reflect upon their nature. Commonalities between the church and the rose have blossomed in my meditations.
The Church, like the rose, is magnificent, delightful, compelling, inspiring, overpowering, fragrant but at times we too can be prickly, thorny, dry, burned, worn or diseased.
A while back I purchased several different varieties of roses. Like us, they are all different. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Over time I have learned their characteristics, demeanor and preferences. Some want to climb, reaching for the heavens, some choose to linger midway, while others prefer to stay low to the ground. All are necessary and require the sun's full attention. A few have strong aromas and bright colors...very outgoing. They compete for acknowledgement and I am captured by each one's individuality. I happily desire our morning meetings. My eyes admire each one and they impart a cheerful air!
But one particular rose stands alone. It is super finicky. No matter what I do it is never happy. I figured if I watered it this way or that way, then it will surely perk up. Then, I tried setting it in various spots hoping the sun would hit it just right. Finally, I decided that it probably just wanted some food? I pruned, repotted and gave it way more attention then it deserved. It was useless! This rose had made up its mind. It was stubborn, relentless and unforgiving.
Unforgiveness slowly causes us to dry up and produce bitterness. It deprives us of the opportunity to flourish and be of any help to ourselves or others. Unforgiveness stops the growth process. We easily demand forgiveness, but hesitantly offer it. I am often reluctant to forgive because I am too busy blaming. This was the case with that finicky rose. Although I insisted on its unforgiving character, I failed to pay attention to detail. The bottom of the pot had no drain holes, so the rose rotted.
"Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions." It is essential to forgive but that requires pruning, weeding, nourishment, watering, dedication and paying attention...close attention...to the full Son!