To A Rose After A Funeral
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 06 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Strength And Beauty)
The funeral is over and I once again have tried to comfort a family who thinks the clouds will never part and the sun will never peek through again. It has not been easy. I could not cry, though I, too, loved the brother whom I eulogized. I could not share in the weeping though I, too, will miss his companionship. I could not break down, for I was the preacher, but now with you, dear rose, I sit alone and weep. I weep because one whom I loved has left me. I weep because people whom I love are brokenhearted. I weep because some who have not yet received Christ refused Him in the funeral. I weep because the load is heavy and the strain is great. I weep because I, too, am human though I dare not reveal that to others.
Oh, to be quite honest, beautiful rose, I slipped in a tear or two as the family was walking out and I viewed the body of my beloved brother, but I was granted just a brief time to weep before I must turn again to catch the tears of others.
Now, rose, it is just you and I. Do you know you are mentioned only twice in the whole Bible? You are spoken of in Isaiah 35:1 and Song of Solomon 2:1. Do you know that you are called the Queen of flowers and that you are a symbol of friendship? Whatever is one's favorite flower, you are loved by all. You, lovely rose, have a special place in history. Edward III impressed a rose on his coins. The House of Lancaster had as its symbol a red rose and the House of York, a white one.
Do you know that you have a place in poetry? Byron wrote, "And her face so fair stirred with her dream as rose leaves with the air." Tennyson said of his Maude, "Queen rose of the rose bud garden of girls."
The sculptor with his chisel has tried to capture thy beauty. The poet with his pen, the orator with his eloquence, the singer with his voice, the artist with his brush, and the philosopher with his mind have all sought to describe thy loveliness.
You, dear rose, have been chosen to be a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. You, like Jesus, add beauty everywhere. You are found in the cottage of the poor and the palace of the rich; the marriage altar and the funeral chapel; the altar of the church and the hands of the bride; in the restaurant and the banquet room. You are found in the hands of a lover; on the dress of a lovely lady; in the rich man's garden; and in a poor man's field. The busy businessman enjoys thy fragrance and the stumbling nomad is revived by thy scent. The stingy Scotchman can afford thee and the proud German kneels to catch thy fragrance.
May I, like you and like Christ, lend beauty wherever I go.
Then too, Queen of flowers, you, like Christ, are for everyone. You brighten the eyes of the rich man as well as the poor. You are cut by the hands of the saint and also the sinner. You are found on the White House lawn and your beauty also brightens the ghetto. Your beauty may be seen on the desk of the boss as well as on the bench of the workman. You are found in bunches in the debutante's corsage and you walk alone in the poor girl's hair. You aid the sermon from the preacher's lapel and beautify the bride as you come from her hands.
Your honor, you make lovely any vessel. Your stems rise from cut-glass bowls and also from pickle jars. You live in flower pots and also in coke bottles. You brighten the wedding and also the funeral. Just a few moments ago people whom I love looked at you and somehow were comforted. You seem to be just as beautiful in a rusty tin can as in a golden vase, and you are just as admired in a slum window as in mansion's parlors.
Everywhere you go you are always more beautiful than the vase. Maybe this is why we call Jesus the Rose of Sharon; He has to find in us a vase. May I learn that the Rose of Sharon can beautify a tin can like me as easily as He can the golden vase.
Your majesty, you also meet every need. To those who are unloved has been given the Moss rose which symbolizes love. Saddened ones have received the Daily rose which symbolizes a smile. Those who find life complicated have found the Burgundy rose, a symbol of simplicity and beauty. The dull life is brightened by the Day rose which symbolizes pleasure. Those carrying heavy burdens love to look at the China rose which stands for grace. Those whose eyes are weary look at the Mush rose which symbolizes conspicuous beauty. The one who is cold can look at the Provence rose which represents a warm heart.
But, Queen of flowers, I must tell you, your petals will soon fall; your beauty will soon fade; you have been cut from the source of life. You have, however, not died in vain. Your death brought joy and comfort to saddened and bereaved hearts. Maybe this is why the Saviour is called the Rose of Sharon, for He was also cut off from the land of the living and in so doing brought life, hope, and eternal life to the world. May I learn from you the lesson that to die is to bless, and may I thank you for giving your life to bless, comfort and encourage someone, yea, several someones whom I love.
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