The Rose of Sharon

In the courtyard at Mt. Hope Congregational Church these flowers opened this week, beginning to bloom for their short season. It is among the varieties of flowers often called "Rose of Sharon." The phrase "Rose of Sharon" is only used once in the Bible. In the Song of Solomon 2:1 the beloved says "I am a rose of Sharon, a lilly of of the valleys." (NIV)

Sharon is a biblical location, a level plain, where the rare Rose of Sharon, likely the Rock Rose, of that part of the world, apparently grew sparsely in ancient times. Interestingly, and somewhat mysteriously, at some point in Church History Jesus begin to be referred to as the Rose of Sharon in worship lyrics of the Church. Why?

The connection with the Song of Solomon doesn't make much sense because even if the Song of Solomon is to be understood as an analogy between the love of the man and woman in this book of the Bible, the analogy is backwards.

The Bible only ever refers to Christ as the lover and the Church as the Beloved; Jesus being the bridegroom and the Church being the bride.

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." - Ephesians 5:25-27 (NIV)

But if we are to take the Song of Solomon as the basis for why Jesus is called The Rose of Sharon, it would be the Church that is the Rose of Sharon. The analogy would be backwards. But if not for the connection with Song of Solomon then why would Jesus have begun to be referred to as the Rose of Sharon over the centuries?

Regardless of which exact species of flower, be it this species of hybiscus or something else, the bloom of a flower is beautiful, delicate, and will fade quickly. The flower, whichever specie it actually is that bloomed on the plains of Sharon in the Holy Land, was said to be able to be crushed and contain healing properties and a sweet fragrance. It was a rare flower among thorns. The Plain of Sharon is flat and level and fertile.

Perhaps the connection has a great deal more to do with the properties of the place and the flower then with the Song of Solomon. Christ, like the Rose of Sharon, when crushed, He bled healing for the Nations.

"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." - Revelation 22:1-2 (NIV)

Like the Plain of Sharon, the ground is completely level at the foot of the Cross of Jesus. There is healing at the cross for everyone from Every socioeconomic class, every nation, every age, every kind of person. There is healing at the Cross! It is a place where life is given, even in the crushing of the flower of incredible beauty, rarity, and woth.

“He himself bore our sins ” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed .” I Peter 2:24 (NIV)

I'm not sure if these flowers are exactly the same as that which grew on the Plain of Sharon. But this flower, which we call the Rose of Sharon, represents that beautiful rose that was crushed, out of which poured the sweet fragrance of the healing of the grace and mercy of Almighty God in Christ because of Grace available through faith!