Thursday, March 5, 2015

Jesus, Rose of Sharon -- Ida A. Guirey

She must have been looking at a very specific portion of Biblical text as she mulled over how to call out to
God’s son. “Jesus, Rose of Sharon” sprang from the consciousness of Ida A. Guirey in the early 1920s, but what compelled its emergence? Was it something unique to herself that she wanted to say, matching the select nature of the text at which she peered? Was she seeking or in a special marital relationship that drew her to the text she read? How old was she? Did she appreciate nature, including beautiful and fragrant flowers, like roses (or tulips, like these that could be the ‘rose’ on Israel’s Plain of Sharon)? The answers to a host of questions like these and maybe others could tell us important details about her, but since “Rose of Sharon” is still here, it provides us some insights of her that we can reflect back upon ourselves.

The few details we know of the otherwise anonymous Ida A. Guirey tell us she wrote song poetry in the early 20th Century, including ‘…Rose of Sharon’ that she must have composed as she looked at one of the more obscure books of the bible. She composed only a handful of song poems, including one (in 1909?) during the first decade of the 20th Century, so by 1921-22, when ‘…Rose’ is attributed to Guirey, her age probably was that of at least a young woman, if not older. Only Song of Solomon (aka Song of Songs; chapter 2, verse 1) uses the phrase Guirey borrows for her song’s title and oft-repeated phrase. Love is on the mind of most of us when we open the pages of this bible book…was it also Ida’s state of mind? We know not if she had an intimate bond with someone on earth as she read Solomon’s words, but certainly she loved Jesus, and sought His embrace and impact. We could also surmise that perhaps she appreciated nature’s beauty, and the facet of Jesus’ nature that a Sharon rose calls to mind. Flowers might seem fragile to some minds (like mine), but Ida’s thoughts tell us she believed His strengths lay in that imagery. Perhaps she had a green thumb (!), along with a deep desire to see His way more deeply affect her life and those around her.  Roses need good soil and other nourishment –sunshine, water—that really only He can give. Ida Guirey may have concluded that our Creator is the unique source of growth and beauty, to make herself and others flourish and be who He created His offspring to be.  

What Ida prayed to receive is common to all of us, if we want His best. She apparently had deduced that God’s creative power and beauty could flow through herself and be a magnet for those nearby (v.1), if only she would allow those things to increase personally (v.2). To heal others’ spiritual ills and infuse them with a submissive desire to honor Him (vv. 3-4) was the model Christian community—even a worldwide one—that Ida envisioned. Ask yourself, ‘am I there today’? ‘Impossible’, you say? Ida must have thought otherwise, or judged the connection with Him was worth the effort. She might have thought there was an extraterrestrial place where the ideal could culminate, too. Know where to go to find that?  

The following links are the sources for songs by the composer, the only scant information on the composer:

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