Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

By Christa Albrecht & Frances Hammond, for the Flower Guild

Where have all the flowers gone?
To our sick and suffering—everyone;
During Lent no flower blooms will be seen,
Instead, the altars are adorned with desert plants of green.
Like the place where Christ prayed and fasted for 40 days,
We Christians remember his ordeal in various ways.

Traditionally, the Lenten altars look different, no flowers. This is a time of deep inner work. Always we give glory to God, but during Lent, we express that differently. This year Pastor Manisha asked us to look for green plants for the Lenten altars, which would be evocative of life in the desert. We may think about deserts as dry and lifeless places, but we know that the desert is also teeming with life. The verdancy of the desert may be a different and a rich way for us to think about our Lenten “journeys” this year. We chose each of the altar plants for their different qualities.


For St. Dunstan’s chapel we particularly love the Ficus Ginseng with the above-ground tap roots because they reveal
something (the root) that is usually buried. Some of our Lenten work is also excavation. Ginseng Ficus is native to South
and Eastern Asian countries.


The Dieffenbacchia on St. Paul’s altar is popularly called “dumb cane plant” because it can cause temporary
speechlessness when it comes in contact with the throat (please don’t nibble the leaves). However, these plants are
actually very talented. Like all plants, they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, but these plants are particularly
good at removing harmful toxins.


The High Altar Rubber Plants, Ficus Burgundy, are native to the deserts and jungles of India and Southeast Asia. Each
leaf is deep green with a tinge of burgundy and has a beautiful sheen. These trees are stately and royal but also long
suffering and forgiving of poor light. Perhaps they could remind us of the extreme courage of our Lord, Jesus Christ in
facing temptation and suffering, and of his great forgiveness for us.


If you are interested in participating in the Flower Guild, please email Lindsay Shimon at lshimon@christchurchcranbrook.org!

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