UPPER QUEEN’S PARK OUTDOOR WORSHIP SERVICE – August 25, 2019
Avondale United Church & Parkview United Church
Theme: God’s Beauty – God’s beauty in our world & in all creation – including us
– God’s garden: what flowers would you find in God’s garden?
– Think about all the varieties, shapes, and colours of our beautiful flowers – what are their meanings?
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac:
Daffodil –springtime, new beginnings
Daisy – innocence and hope
Black-eyed Susan – justice
Bluebell – humility and kindness
Carnations – red (admiration, my heart aches), white – purity, pink – I’ll never forget you,
yellow – disappointment or rejection
Chrysanthemum – cheerfulness
Crocus – youthful gladness
Edelweiss – courage, devotion
Geranium (oak-shaped leaves) – true friendship
Goldenrod – encouragement
Lily – beauty (calla)
Peony – bashfulness
Chamomile – patience
Lotus flower – enlightenment, rebirth
Amaryllis – pride
Anemone – forsaken
Hyacinth – purple (forgiveness and regret), white (loveliness and prayers for someone)
yellow ( jealousy)
Marigold – despair, grief, jealousy
Red poppy – consolation
Sunflower – adoration
Violet – loyalty, devotion, faithfulness
Wallflower – faithfulness in adversity
Tansy – hostile thoughts
Lemon Balm – sympathy
Lavender – virtue
Snapdragon – graciousness
Rose – red (love), pink (happiness), white (purity), yellow (jealousy)
Tulip – red (declaration of love), yellow (sunshine in your smile)
Will all these flowers be in God’s garden? Even the ones with pride, hostile thoughts, and jealous natures? Well, we people are like the flowers – yes, we are told to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit – when we ask the Spirit of Jesus to live within us and direct us – but we’re not perfect. We can have hostile thoughts, feelings of forsakenness, jealousy, sorrow, despair, rejection, disappointment – and God still loves us! We aren’t thrown away. That’s when we need extra care. When we exhibit negative or harmful thoughts or feelings, we need the nourishment and healing and kindness and sympathy of others to help us get over our hurdles, and we need the love of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to hold us up, keep us strong, nurture us and help us grow in a Godly way.
Jesus says to stay connected to him – the true vine. John 15:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
What are the Good Fruits of the Spirit that Jesus offers and prunes us to be?
Galations 5: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control .” Gifts of the Spirit include: encouragement, generosity, cheerfulness.
The meanings of so many flowers exhibit the gifts of the Spirit:
Encouragement – the goldenrod, cheerfulness – the chrysanthemum, consolation – the red poppy, kindness – the bluebell, patience – chamomile, friendship – the oak-leaved geranium, faithfulness – violet, love – red rose. Jesus is often referred to as the Rose of Sharon. It must be red, because his love is the most incredible divine Love we could ever imagine. God offers us new beginnings, like the yellow daffodil, and through Jesus God’s Son, we are offered rebirth and enlightenment, just like the meaning of the lotus flower.
Let’s be a beautiful garden! Let’s be beautiful flowers! Let’s express God’s beauty in all creation, including us. Let’s grow in the good soil of God’s love, let’s be watered by the Spirit of Christ our Living Water, and let’s bask in the sunshine of the Holy Spirit who showers us with warm goodness, life-giving rays, and God’s many blessings.
May it be so. Thanks be to God! Amen.