planting roses, hope, and Easter promise –


Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25-26

It’s Saturday, the day between dark Good Friday angst and bright Easter Sunday joy. For the disciples it was probably the most difficult time imaginable, as they reality of Christ’s death settled in without any sense of what was about to happen the next morning.

In her video devotion yesterday, Rebekah shared the story of how she deals with the overwhelming sadness. She plants, she tends the garden, she cultivates hope, and she takes time to remember some of the people who have passed on during the last few months.

Larry and Rebekah planting the Granada Rose

So this morning, after a particularly gratifying Zoom gathering with the men’s Bible-study, Rebekah and I headed over to the church to put in a new rose bush, outside her office window in one of the ongoing “green” projects.

Over the course of the morning somewhere around 20 people (all appropriated spaced around the campus) had been digging and cultivating and tending our growing – and highly productive – set of community gardens. We met Larry in the Memory Garden, where Rebekah’s new rose bush was waiting.

Here’s the Story:

IMG_9523I’ll limit this to the CliffsNotes version, but the story begins back in the fall of 1999, when Rebekah’s mama passed away in Apopka, Florida. A family at the church – the Nelsons – ran a nursery and had propagated some unique roses that Nelle loved. One in particular was named the “Granada.” And, at Nelle’s memorial service, the Nelsons filled the church to overflowing with literally hundreds of Granada roses.

Fast forward to Wake Forest in beautiful North Carolina. A few years ago Rebekah shared her mama’s Granada Rose story with Larry, who does landscaping work of absolute magic on our campus here at WFPC. Larry – quietly and without letting Rebekah know – has been on a four year quest to find a variety of Mr. Nelson’s Granada Rose that matches our local climate conditions.

IMG_9550Well, this year Larry struck pay dirt. So today, when we showed up to take a look at some of the work going on around the church property, he gave Rebekah her rose and we planted it in the garden outside her office window.

So enjoy today’s photos that document the planting, but also enjoy them because they tell the story of Easter, such compelling evidence of new life, the promise of the empty tomb, the hope that is ours in Jesus.

In love, in gratitude, and because the power of love breaks open every grave, of every type – DEREK

(The story, in pictures, including the church property from the community garden…)

One comment

  1. I am truly touched to read about the Granada rose. I am Flo Nelson of the Nelson family in Apopka. The Alexander family was dear to us as well as to the church. Sending loving wishes to both of you and many thanks for your blog.
    BTW I have Granada in my ward – and a few dozen other varieties.


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