The Perfect Rose

Jun 21, 2019 · 2 min read
Flowers always seem to find me. Wherever we go, whether to the mountains, to the oceans, or to the cities, my eyes seem to be drawn to the wondrous variety of color that God gave us in flowers. This week, in honor of Easter weekend, I’d like to share with you a beautiful rose garden we discovered accidently one weekend in Bamberg, Germany.

The Rosengarten der Neuen Residenz Bamberg is a famous garden although we didn’t know it at the time. We were trekking up the hill to Domplatz in order to get close to the church bells at the Bamberger Dom St. Peter und St. Georg. Just around the corner at the Neuen Residenz, we stumbled on the beautiful rose garden.

One rose in particular struck me. It was a creamy yellow, but had hints of pink in the tips of its petals. I took as many photos as I could while being conscious that we still had to save enough time to buy dirndls for the girls, and my husband wanted to visit a biergarten down the hill. Later, being the amateur horticulturalist that I am, I investigated this little beauty.

I found out that this rose’s official name is the Rosa “Madame A. Meilland.” The French horiculturalist Francis Meilland named it after his mother when he created it the mid-thirties in France. When Germany invaded France, Mr. Meilland sent samples away to colleagues in Italy, Germany, the United States, and other places in order to ensure its preservation.

The rose ended up with different names due its long and arduous journeys around the world during the war. In 1945, Meilland asked Field Marshall Alan Brooke to name the rose. Because the war was nearing its end, the rose became known as the Peace Rose.   It is fitting that such a rose would be so prevalent in a garden in Bamberg, so close to the heart of former Nazi power.

In Germany, however, it was known as the Gloria Dei, Latin for Glory of God.   Song of Solomon 2:1 tells of a romantic exchange between a lover and a beloved. The Beloved refers to herself, some would say boastfully, as the Rose of Sharon. The Lover in this chapter seems to have no quarrel with that assessment, and his beloved must have been beautiful indeed. In biblical times, Sharon was a place in Palestine known for its beautiful fields of wild flowers. In horticulture, the rose is often described as the perfect flower due not only to its natural beauty, but also because of its fragrance.

So it is that Christ may have became known as the Rose of Sharon, although he did not refer to himself as such. Using the analogy of the conversation between the Beloved and the Lover, to me the reference to Christ as the Rose of Sharon describes the deep personal relationship we should strive to have with Him. And why would we not; He is the most perfect of all flowers.

As you wander the rose garden, be sure to always watch for the Gloria Dei. Happy Easter everyone. He is Risen!

Water and Light!