The crown of thorns on the left is from Israel and the one on the right came out of Arizona along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.
Before I left on my Colorado River Run, our church’s Girl’s Camp director asked me to find a crown of thorns for an upcoming spiritual object lesson. I knew there wouldn’t be much time before I left to find one, but I had a strong feeling I would find something like it during my trip, so I kept my eyes open. Every time we took day hikes to various water falls and canyons, I would search for a plant that resembled the crown of thorns. Then one day, as if it was calling my name, I spotted a desert plant with long spiny thorns. Immediately, I told my husband that I needed to grab a few stems of this plant. He told me I was crazy because, after all, we were on a rubber raft….I told him it was a God-send and must be carried out and that it would all work out well. He asked me where we would put it, and I replied, “In Shad’s metal box where he keeps important things dry”.
Walking out of a canyon in the Grand Canyon with a gnarly looking pocky plant caused curiosity amongst the people from my group and spurred them to ask me questions. I explained to them they’re purpose was for a spiritual object lesson on the Savior’s life. I didn’t go into much detail about it, but it seemed to have an impact on one of the women in my group because, to my surprise, she asked me if she could carry them for me on this very hot day, down a rocky, rugged path. Her compassion lead me to think of another charitable act of service many years prior when one walked in the footsteps of Jesus, bearing the cross upon which the Savior of the world was to consummate His glorious mission, who was Simon Peter, a native of Cyrene. “Along the city streets, out through the portal of the massive wall, and thence to a place beyond but yet nigh unto Jerusalem, the cortege advanced. The destination was a spot called Golgotha, or Calvary, meaning “the place of a skull.”dJesus the Christ, (2006), 652–669
Both of these acts of service and love were the quintessential example of what our Savior taught during his mortal ministry and the means to an end of our taking these fine young women along a spiritual journey while walking the walk of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. When I presented my crown of thorns to our camp director, it was nothing short of a miracle when she showed up with a crown of thorns as well, from the exact same plant; one coming from the Holy Land (ordered online), while the other from Arizona (fire-lined).
The object lesson was for them to use their senses without sight: Sound, touch, taste, and smell. First, we blind folded the young women, played poignant sacred music with lyrics to coincide with brief moments of His life on Earth. Each item we passed around for the girls to experience would create an emotion like no other. We had them feel straw and cloth representing how He condescended from His heavenly throne to be born in humble circumstances by Mary, His mortal mother. Continuing along His life, we came to His childhood and gave the girls marbles to touch as they contemplated what His favorite toys or games were. Mustard seeds were carefully placed next in the palms of their hands as they listened to a song called “Carpenter’s Son”, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto the mountain, remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you”. Matthew 17:20 Next, the crown of thorns and a large spike to never forget the terrible price paid by our Redeemer who gave His life that all men might live and a drop of vinegar in their mouths which was given to quench His thirst. And lastly, while listening to a beautiful song called Gethsemane, a drop of water in their hands to represent the drop of blood He shed for you because of His infinite love for each one.
The success in recreating poignant scenes of the Savior’s life by using these two crown of thorns and other emblems of Jesus’ life and atonement, was so extremely touching. I cannot describe the powerful spirit felt by each young woman this evening….tears streaming down their cheeks and some were truly feeling His anguish as if they were really with Him during His final hours. In spite of that excruciating ordeal, He took the cup and drank! He suffered as only God could suffer, bearing our griefs, carrying our sorrows, being wounded for our transgressions, voluntarily submitting Himself to the iniquity of us all. Just as Isaiah had prophesied as Nephi so understood would happen.
Thanks to this sweet woman named Anne and the gentle care of Shad, our River guide extraordinaire, my crown of thorns made it home to be utilized during our spiritual journey of the Savior’s life and great was I taught by such simple acts of kindness by these, my new friends traveling along side me on the Colorado River. How wonderful our world would be if we all kept in mind the brotherly love the Savior taught…and if some out there don’t believe in the Savior, there’s always the golden rule we can all live by which will bring us joy and unity and ultimately, peace in this life and joy in the eternities…it may be our only hope for a new world form of political rest.