- Pastor Ralph
Life in the Garden
Well, it's the time of the year when people, again, return to their flower gardens and vegetable gardens to work the earth and to plant. Whether it is their yard, or in a public garden setting, people have been looking forward to getting outside after a long winter. Our present cold weather is not helping the cause and is even putting commercial enterprises, like vineyards, in danger due to the possibility of frost. It looks like much warmer weather is heading our way very soon. That’s good news!
I am not an avid gardener. I watch people who love to garden, who get pleasure and empowerment from it, and I am envious. It is a great hobby and a wonderful way of bringing beauty and character to a property. It also brings therapeutic and spiritual elements to one’s life and the people we garden with. Gardens also create places of fellowship. Many folks invite company over to share in the beauty and relaxation of their yards as they visit and interact with one another. Many garden with grandchildren and friends and build lasting bonds and transmit wisdom.
Gardens also produce useful produce. There is nothing like eating a tomato or zucchini fresh off the vine. We also have confidence in what has gone into the growing of what we eat. Many people are also very gracious and share their vegetables etc. with those around them. It is way of expressing love to others and being a servant.
To me, it goes back to Genesis 2:8 (NIV), “Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.” Then we read, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15 NIV) We have been given a divine mandate to care for God’s creation, to manage it wisely and to develop it to bring forth life. Although the earth we experience now is very different due to the fall (Genesis 3) there is obviously a real connectedness to God. Gardens, I know for many, are places where they recognize God’s divine design. They recognize His fellowship. For many, they become places of prayer and devotion in His word, as they daily express their love for Him. Gardens, throughout scripture, reflect our God and our relationship to Him. It is a monstrous and fascinating topic. You can trace the importance of gardens through Israel’s history and the life of Christ.
I think in closing, it is worth noting that the plan of redemption centers on the context of gardens. In the Garden of Eden, we see the fall of man and how sin affected all of creation and our relationship with God. In the Garden of Gethsemane, we see the plan of redemption coming to a climax in the betrayal of Jesus, the desertion of the disciples and the agony of Jesus just hours away from the cross. Again, the entrance of sin into a garden! And in the burial of Jesus and His resurrection, we see Him in a tomb that is in a garden. In fact, Mary thought the resurrected Jesus was a gardener! Interesting!
So happy gardening as the weather warms. May the gardens that we experience, in all their different forms, bring us rest and relaxation in this stress full time. May they cause us to think, in deeper ways, about our Lord and may they help us see God’s sovereignty in a world that seems to be a little out of sync.
God bless – stay safe and stay in the love of Jesus – Pastor Ralph