Third Advent Sunday: The Rose that grew from Concrete


Sermon :
The Rose that grew from Concrete
Like wildflowers: you must allow yourself to grow in all the places, people thought you never could.
Have you ever seen a small flower, a few straws of grass or seed of weed grow through and break it ways through the Asphalt or the concrete of our towns, sidewalks, and freeways?
Have you ever stopped and really looked at that little sign of hope, of life, of courage and determination, when you have spotted that wildflower making it ways into places where you would never think anything could grow? 
I am always in awe, when I notice these strong signs of hope and determination that seems to contradicts the laws of nature and common sense.
 I am always in awe when I notice these small and yet significant signs for power, will and hope in in the wilderness of concrete and asphalts.
It is like the desert is blooming and the wilderness rejoices and blossoms. These small signs are like joy and singing, like the glory of Lebanon and the majesty of Carmel and Sharon as the prophet of Isaiah so poetic and prophetic put it.
A poet of our time and age David Ignatow also notices these cracks of hope and life and he wrote:
“If Flowers want to grow
right out of concrete sidewalk cracks,
I’m going to bend down and smell them.”
These wildflowers growing right through concrete sidewalks are like these magical flowers when the desert blooms and the wilderness blossom.  Flowers grow in the most unlikely and barren places, and become the finest sermon of hope and life. And when we witness, we have to stop, bend down and smell them: see them as the signs of hope that can break through difficult circumstances and common law and sense. Signs that can bring us hope and faith in time of despair and darkness.
Advent is a time of hope. Advent is a time of small signs of change, of unexpected hope breaking through like a Jackhammer through concrete.
The Old Prophet and Poet Isaiah shared his visions and dreams of hope and change, he used these powerful images of
·       swords of destruction transformed into plowshares
·       a small green shoot of the barren tree
·       deserts blooming and wilderness being watered
·       and finally a small child born of a virgin: Emmanuel.
All of these dreams and prophesies marked and shaped the life and being and the mission of Jesus Christ. He read and listened to these dreams and hopes, he knew the words so well and he made these dreams, his dreams too.
“If Flowers want to grow
right out of concrete sidewalk cracks,
I’m going to bend down and smell them.”
These words of Ignatow also shared his visions and dreams as a poet, who saw signs of hope and change in the sidewalks cracks… and urged us to bend down and smell them. To strength and determination in the flowers and in our selves too.
“ The Rose that grew from Concrete” is the title of yet another collection of visions, dreams and poems from our present time and age.
Tupac Amaru Shakur also known as 2Pac was an American rapper. In addition to his status as a top selling recording artist with over 75. millions albums sold , 2Pac was a successful film actor anda social activist. His songs were about growing up in the ghetto amid violence and hardship, about racism and conflicts. He advocated for political, economic, social, and racial equality and shared his conflicts and struggles with violence, drugs, and abuse. On September 7 1996 2Pac was shot four times in a drive by shooting in Las Vegas and died: only 25 years old.
“ The Rose that grew from Concrete” is a collection of Tupac Shakur’s most intimate ad honest thoughts and poem and they were uncovered only after his death. These poems are a deeply personal mirror of his life and his struggles. Seventy-two poems that embrace his spirit, his energy and his ultimate message of hope.
“ Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature’s laws wrong,
It learned to walk without having feet.
Funny, it seems to by keeping it’s dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete,
when no one else even cared…..
We wouldn’t ask why
 A rose that grew from the concrete for having damaged petals,
in turn, we would all celebrate its tenacity, we would all love its will to reach the sun,
well, we are the roses, this is the concrete and these are my damaged petals,
don’t ask me why, thank God, and ask me how.”
Advent is a time to listen to prophets and poets. Advent is a time to listen to dreams about hope in hopeless and desperate places, about faith in deserted places and about love in hateful and divided places.
Advent is a time to light more and more candles, to bring more and more light and warmth to a cold dark world.
Advent is a time to notice the flowers in the sidewalk cracks and the beauty and will despite damaged petals and broken spirits.
Advent is a time of hope. Let us embrace this time.
Let us bend down and smell the flowers.
O come now living water, pour your grace
And bring new life to every withered place.
Speak comfort to each trembling heart
Be strong! Fear not, for I will never depart.
Rejoice, rejoice, take heart and do not fear,
God’s chosen one, Emmanuel, draws near!