Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11

Seeds of the Kingdom

The Passion Flower

by Liz Griffin

‘Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.’
Genesis 1:11, NIVUK

There is a flower which is a visual aid of Jesus on the cross. I didn’t know about this until this week, when a friend told me about it. She saw it in my garden. It is the Passion flower and it is a climbing vine. My husband bought it this year by mistake, thinking it was a clematis.

In the sixteenth century, Catholic missionaries from Spain went to South America and discovered a flower they hadn’t seen in Europe. They felt it was a sign of encouragement from God for their mission. They named it the Passion flower. Maybe they used it as a visual aid to preach the Gospel to the native people there. At that time in history the word ‘passion’ meant ‘suffering’, so when the Bible was translated into Latin, the word used was ‘passio’. However, the word ‘passion’ in the English language has changed in meaning as the years have gone by.

The flower has ten petals and sepals, which symbolise the ten disciples who remained after the betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter that he was a disciple. It has corona filaments which symbolise the crown of thorns. Then it has five anthers which symbolise the wounds in Jesus’ body, two in the feet, two in the hands and the spear wound in His side.

Very noticeable is the three prominent brown-coloured stigmas, (‘stigmata’ in Latin). They do look very much like nails. One nail was put through both the feet of Jesus and one through each of His hands. On the vine there are tendrils, which look like the whip used on Jesus. The shape of each individual leaf blade looks like the blade of the spear thrust into His side.

In Genesis Chapter 2 we read, ‘Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food’ (Genesis 2:8-9a). Then ‘The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and verse 15 says, take care of it.’

It seems that God created us to enjoy gardens, not just for growing food, but for admiring the design and colour of the trees, flowers and fruit. And in telling people not to worry about the essentials of life, Jesus pointed out how the ‘lilies of the field’ were more beautiful than King Solomon’s clothing. ‘And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these’ (Matthew 6:28-29).

Certainly, my little garden gave immense pleasure and joy to a church group who came to have an afternoon of fellowship with a cream tea. We were blessed with a perfect summer’s day, the sun shining brightly after days of rain. As we had a time of singing together, someone suggested we surely had to sing the hymn ‘All things bright and beautiful’.

Liz Griffin lived for 20 years as an expatriate in South Africa, Bahrain and Japan, as her husband Paul worked for an international oil company. Paul and Liz became involved with Ellel Ministries in 1991 as part of the ministry team and joined the full-time team at Ellel Grange in 1995. Paul and Liz teach and minister to those seeking healing in their lives and together have written two books, 'Anger - How Do You Handle It' and 'Hope and Healing For The Abused'.


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