These Chrysanthemums I found growing in one of the new borders at the chapel’s rear. Chryanths are a popular flower in Britain, and they seem to last long in a vase. Yet in Japan, they are not only sacred, having their own religious festival (Kiku no Sekku), but they symbolise the national monarchy. Whereas we might refer to 'the Crown' when describing monarchical power or institution, Japanese would refer to 'the Chrysanthemum Throne'.

In the first chapter of Ezekiel, we are treated to a glimpse of God’s heavenly splendour:

And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.

Despite his divine inspiration, I sense Ezekiel’s difficulty in summoning adequate vocabulary to describe so indescribable a vision. Perhaps the vast array of a chrysanthemum colours are themselves a dim reflection of the glorious hues and tones of the Creator’s spectacular throne room.