This summer my love for plants has been blessed in two very special ways. I have two plants that remind me of God’s love for us and for all of creation. Today I’ll focus on the Crown of Thorns which I acquired in an interesting manner. I always enjoy looking for new plants or ones that have a special meaning for me. The first crown of thorns I ever saw was grown by my grandfather and I was too young to connect it with the crown worn by Christ as He was crucified. It was just an unusual thorny plant with bright red flowers. One look convinced me that I wouldn’t want to touch it but it intrigued me. I was probably about five years old at the time, but it made a lasting impression.

I never really saw another one until about ten years ago.Our church women’s group was having a yard sale and some of us brought some plants to share. As I looked over the selections I noticed a small cutting that looked vaguely familiar. Could it really be a crown of thorns? Yes! I scooped it up and paid for it immediately. I asked around trying to find out who had brought it. This is where the story gets interesting. A dear friend had donated it and she shared its story with me. She had gotten it at a plant exchange hosted by her garden club, but when she found out who had grown it she decided to get rid of it. It seemed that the original owner had been a friend of the woman who was dating her daughter’s ex-husband. She believed this tainted the plant and she would not keep it. I wondered about forgiveness, but was quite happy with my new treasure. Her loss, my gain! The plant was small, maybe three inches high, but I had great hope for it.

My newfound keepsake was transplanted, tended with love, fertilized and given a sunny spot to glory in. It took off and began growing. I used it in teaching a group of teens around Easter a few years later. They admired the blossoms which symbolize Christ’s blood shed for us and we all looked at the thick thorny stem made into a crown of mockery . It had to add to Christ’s pain as those thorns dug into his scalp. Later I also displayed it at a women’s circle meeting in my home. By this time the plant was about three feet tall. The lady who hadn’t wanted it was amazed to see it in all its splendor. Of course, we didn’t share the story behind it. This brings to mind Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” We can appreciate the beauty even though it was used to torture Christ.

In researching the plant, I found that they grow to be about five to six feet tall in the area around Jerusalem. I located a huge pot about five years ago and transplanted it. Every summer I wheel it outdoors to enjoy the bright sun and it is now an impressive five feet tall. It has three outcroppings of leaves in round bunches and they are spectacular. I made a cutting about a year ago and was pleased when it began to fill out. Jim and I had purchased a lion planter from Goodwill around that same time. When it came time to transplant the “baby,” I decided to use that planter, but thought it was kind of silly. The lion was standing erect and looked like it might be suitable for a child’s room, but not with a crown of thorns in it! That was no plant for a child’s room. It looked striking though and so I went with it. Last month, I gifted it to a sweet Christian lady, who immediately said, “the lion of Judah, how appropriate!” Yes, God led me when I thought I was going astray. The planter was just right for this special plant and it is now being appreciated for the reminder it is of what Christ did for all of us. Each day I look at its beauty and think of the part it played in His crucifixion. I appreciate its beauty, but I give thanks to God for His plan for our salvation.