What Jesus said about flowers in the Sermon on the Mount, flowers that bloom throughout the year and the custom of giving flowers.
The pictures should be shown in PowerPoint as the story is told. The ( ) shows when the slide should be changed. To attract pupils’ attention, we recommend the first slide is already on display as they enter.
Think of a world without any flowers (Come and Praise no.17)
Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow; they do not work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers. (Matthew 6: 28-29)
The Main Text
We know that Jesus appreciated the beauty of flowers. One day he was standing on a mountain preaching to a huge crowd of people. He told them that flowers were more beautiful than the clothes of a rich king. This taught the people listening that they should not be worried about what they wore. More beauty could be seen in the simple things that they could see growing around them in nature. He said that they should remember that God would make sure that they had clothes to wear and food to eat. They had to trust in him to provide what they needed.
God has created thousands of beautiful flowers all over the world. These days they can be grown all year round in big greenhouses. But in their natural habitat, different flowers only bloom at certain times of the year. Here are a few of the flowers that can be seen in Britain throughout the year. Perhaps you have seen some of them in gardens and parks, or in woods and fields in the countryside:
At the beginning of the year we often see the first flowers of the year peeping up through the snow. They are the delicate white petals of the snowdrop, which appears in January. Snowdrops are a symbol of hope for the year ahead.
In February, anemones can be seen in colours of red, pink, purple, blue and white. Some artists have used red anemones to represent the blood shed by Jesus on the cross and anemones sometimes appear in paintings of the crucifixion.
The national flower of Wales blooms brightly in March. You probably all know what this is! Yes! It’s the bright yellow daffodil that flowers in parks and gardens and alongside roads and lanes. Daffodils were first brought to Britain by the Romans, but they were not adopted as our national flower until David Lloyd George, a Welsh prime minister, started the tradition of wearing a daffodil on St David’s Day in 1911.
When the daffodils fade, they are replaced by bluebells in April. They can be seen forming a rich blue carpet in woodlands and fields. There are different types of bluebells. Some of them are quite rare and it is against the law to pick them.
The primrose is associated with the month of May. These pretty yellow flowers were once used to decorate altars for May Day, a celebration in which statues of Jesus’ mother Mary were crowned with garlands of flowers.
In June, there are many flowers in bloom as the warm summer weather arrives. One of these is the graceful iris. The name comes from the Greek word for ‘rainbow’. The iris is the national flower of France.
In July, snapdragons are a popular garden flower. Their tall spikes come in many beautiful colours, but never in blue. They got their name because children love to open the jaw of the flower and watch it snap shut.
In August, fragrant lavender flowers bloom. Lavender is a herb that has been used for thousands of years for many things including washing, cooking, medicine, and for its sweet scent. The monks on Caldey Island, off the coast of Pembrokeshire, make their own special lavender perfume from plants grown on the island.
Michaelmas daisies flower in September. Their pink and purple flowers with yellow centres are named after St Michael, who is the patron saint of many groups, including soldiers and sailors. Michaelmas Day is on 29th September and it traditionally marks the last day of the harvest.
In October, the crocus blooms as the autumn leaves begin to fall. Squirrels like to eat the bulbs from which the crocuses grow, but it is best for us humans to enjoy them from a distance, because they are highly poisonous.
In November, bright chrysanthemums cheer up the garden. They are also used to decorate graves on All Saints Day, November 1st. In Victorian times giving chrysanthemums to someone was like saying, ‘You’re a wonderful friend.’
In December, the Christmas rose blooms. A legend says that a poor shepherd girl was looking after her sheep when the three wise men passed by with their gifts for the baby Jesus. She cried because she had nothing – not even a flower – to offer as a gift to the baby. An angel heard her crying and brushed away the snow. Underneath were the saucer-shaped white flowers of the Christmas rose. The shepherd girl carried her gift to Bethlehem and gave it to Jesus.
Have you ever given anyone a gift of flowers? Think about the reason you had for giving it. Maybe it was for a special occasion, such as for Mothers’ Day, for a birthday or an anniversary. Or perhaps it was to say thank you, to say sorry or just to cheer someone up.
The Victorians were very fond of giving flowers. One reason for this was because they didn’t think it was polite to talk about their feelings, so instead they often gave flowers to say how they felt about someone. At this time many books were written about which flowers should be given for different occasions.
Today people still use this ‘language of flowers’ to send someone an unspoken message. For example:
- red roses are a symbol of love
- yellow roses are a sign of jealousy
- white lilies represent purity
- poppies send a message of comfort when someone dies.
But we do not need to give flowers to say kind and thoughtful things to others. We can show how we feel by what we say and what we do.
Thank you for the beautiful flowers that we can see around us throughout the year. As we thank you, we remember that flowers are often a way to send a message to others. Make us more thoughtful and help us to be kind to others, not just by giving gifts of flowers, but in our thoughts and actions.