“I love the Rose of Calvary, God’s gift of hope, God’s gift of grace.”  This is the opening line of the Easter cantata that will be performed on Sunday morning.  Written and composed by James Martin, “The Rose of Calvary” tells the story of Jesus’ passion and resurrection, employing the creative imagery of flowers and gardens.  Our post-Easter worship series, “Return to the Garden” was inspired by Martin’s creative work.

“The image of a sacred flower, a divine rose, from heaven’s own garden blooming in the shadows of our world is a portrait of hope and comfort.  When translated into music, it becomes a song that speaks to our deepest needs for restoration and redemption.  It sings to us of gardens lost to sin and despair.  It reveals to us a lonely garden where ancient olive trees stand silent witness to the suffering of the savior.  It sings of a garden meant for death suddenly springing to life in a shower of joyful alleluias.  It is God’s tender love song reminding us all that we are children of the garden.  Finally, at its heart, it is the music of one truly perfect Rose, who, choosing grace, died for his beloved thorns.”

Introduction to “The Rose of Calvary,” James Martin

The variety of flower species that we call “roses” were not likely present in 1st century Israel & Palestine.  But “rose” is quickly identifiable as a treasured blossom, offering those in its presence undeniable beauty and pleasing fragrance.  Remember, Prince of Peace, the portion of the Body of Christ to which we belong, was planted in Roseville and our church grounds fittingly feature multiple rose bushes.

Some translations of scripture refer to “the rose of Sharon,” a phrase Martin draws upon in his chorale.  “I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys,” describes the Beloved in the 2nd chapter of the Song of Songs.  It’s no surprise that those who celebrate Jesus’ love and redemption would cling to such imagery.

The Chancel Choir and our Music Ministry Team have been busy rehearsing this special chorale since late February.  A number of “seasonal singers” have returned to bolster the ranks of voices.  What a gift their efforts will be for our community.  I hope you’ll be in the sanctuary or tuned in online to hear this beautiful story.

May God’s peace find you today. -Pastor Peter

Let us pray… God of the Garden, as the Chancel Choir prepares to share ‘The Rose of Calvary,’ may your spirit guide each note, filling our hearts with a message of hope, grace, and love. Amen.