Japanese Rose

Rosa rugosa or Japanese Rose was a colourful feature of my childhood. By the playground at which my friends and I would pass those long hot summers in the early 1980s, large bushes grew. They were particularly unpleasant to fall into, and the more spiteful members of our group would crush its hips to create ‘itching powder’, which we would endeavour to drop under our colleagues’ t-shirts. Otherwise, its scent and colour evoke fondest memories.

Despite its Latin name and Japanese nomenclature, it originates in China, where it is considered an endangered species. In Europe and North America, ironically, it is considered invasive and seems to be out of control in some regions.

Rosa rugosa reminds me of the Church of God. In those countries in which it once prospered, such as Israel, Turkey and, increasingly, Great Britain, it is an endangered organisation, shrinking and stymied. Yet in countries and areas to which gospel truth was once unknown or officially rejected, such as Iran, South America, the African interior and China itself, it thrives and blossoms.

For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14