Black Rose


"The LORD said to Moses, “Give these instructions to the people of Israel: The offerings you present as special gifts are a pleasing aroma to me; they are my food. See to it that they are brought at the appointed times and offered according to my instructions.
“Say to the people: This is the special gift you must present to the LORD as your daily burnt offering. You must offer two one-year-old male lambs with no defects. Sacrifice one lamb in the morning and the other in the evening. With each lamb you must offer a grain offering of two quarts of choice flour mixed with one quart of pure oil of pressed olives. This is the regular burnt offering instituted at Mount Sinai as a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the LORD. Along with it you must present the proper liquid offering of one quart of alcoholic drink with each lamb, poured out in the Holy Place as an offering to the LORD. Offer the second lamb in the evening with the same grain offering and liquid offering. It, too, is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the LORD." - Numbers 28:1-8

Numbers 28 describes the very best things that the Hebrew people offered to God on all sorts of occasions--daily, on the Sabbath, at the beginning of the month and on Passover. They offered God the first and best of their crops and flocks. Somehow it feels right that as the flames ascend, crackling, the offering rises up to God. We know God is all around us and not "up," but it still makes sense that something you burn goes "up" to God.

These burnt offerings are the basis for a practice at many church camps, the "Black Rose." At the last campfire, all of the campers and counselors write a prayer of confession on a piece of paper. A counselor collects each person' written confession, arranges them all in a neat stack and nails them in the very center of the huge wooden cross. At the end of the campfire worship service, someone lights the prayers of confession on fire. The pages burn and curl around each other. Written words disappear as sparks fly into the night sky. When the fire burns out, the ashen papers, all prayers of confession offered to God, look like a black rose.

If you journal your thoughts, take a look at the last few weeks. Especially pay attention to things you offered to God--good and bad. Ask God if there is more to add--good or bad. Thank God for accepting your offerings of yourself, who you are, and who God will help you to grow into being. Thank God for loving you so deeply. If you wish, pull out a few pages of your journal and burn the pages. Watch your offerings rise up to the Lord.

‘Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise, let them flow in ceaseless praise.’ Amen. - Take My Life," by Frances R. Havergal, 1874
Jun 2 2018