Posted by: rcottrill | April 27, 2015

Where the Roses Never Fade

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Words: Jack and Elsie Osborn, and James C. Miller
Music: Jack and Elsie Osborn, and James C. Miller

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)

Note: This song seems to have been a group effort. I know no more about the origin than what I offer here. Did one of the three write the tune, and the others the words? Not sure. One site says the song was written in 1942. I’d appreciate more information.

The sad reality of death is always with us. We’re reminded of our own mortality time and again, for example, when a loved one dies. And the death of others unknown to us is a frequent subject of the daily news. Not surprisingly, the Bible has a great deal to say about it too. Words such as “death” and “dying” are found there over nine hundred times.

The world of nature mirrors this. Especially in a temperate climate, the rolling seasons seem to be a constant parable of life and death. The flowers that bloomed so beautifully in the spring and summer wither and die as the days of autumn give way to the chill of winter.

Day be day we face the seeming paradox that death is a fact of life. Why is that so? Does it have some deeper purpose? And will we ever be able to live in a world without death? These are questions that are worth considering.

As to the cause of death, the Bible is very clear. In the beginning, God placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, to tend it and keep it for Him. He tested their willingness to trust and obey Him with a simple command. The Lord said, “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). But Adam and his wife disobeyed (Gen. 3:6), and death came upon the whole human family through them (Gen. 5:5; I Rom. 5:12; I Cor. 15:22).

Not only so, but the broader world of nature was affected too. God placed the natural world under a curse, making it more difficult for man to gain his sustenance from it (Gen. 3:17-19). It’s not that plants and flowers have themselves committed some sin. But the Lord wants us to keep in mind that how we live will affect the world around us. That corrupting effect continues, as man’s carelessness and corporate greed goes on destroying our planet’s resources.

Death, the inevitable coda of life’s brief song, is also a reminder of the temporary nature of this world and our time in it. The Lord Jesus told a story one day, about a rich man who forgot about that (Lk. 12:16-21). He felt he had “many years” to take it easy, to “eat, drink, and be merry” (vs. 19). But God called him a fool, and said his life would end that very night (vs. 20).

The most important thing we can do in this life is prepare for the next. There is no more pressing priority. The Bible tells us how to do it. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). That life will end in our heavenly home, a place specially prepared for us by the Lord Himself (Jn. 14:2-3).

The country gospel song called Where the Roses Never Fade is about the joys of heaven. The Bible doesn’t specifically mention whether there will be roses there or not, but God does say, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). It would not surprise me if flowers were included. Heaven is sometimes referred to as Paradise (Lk. 23:43; Rev. 2:7), a Persian word that speaks of a lovely garden, or a beautifully laid out park. In any event, the flowers in the song become a symbol of the deathless glory of the saints’ eternal home.

I am going to a city
Where the streets with gold are laid,
Where the tree of life is blooming
And the roses never fade.

Here they bloom but for a season,
Soon their beauty is decayed;
I am going to a city
Where the roses never fade.

1) What are three things about heaven that you especially look forward to?

2) Are you certain you will be going there? (If not, you can find some help in two articles about the Plan of Salvation, and Assurance of Salvation.)

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)


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