You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
It was hot on Friday –not as hot as last Wednesday - at 95°F that was the hottest July day on record, apparently. But Friday was a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the sunshine and to sit in the garden and relax. After all, it is Wimbledon fortnight and it always rains at some point during the tennis tournament.
Whilst sitting here the scent of the lavender bushes which are now in full bloom fills the air attracting bees to drink the nectar that they will take back to their hives. The gentle hum as they work can be quite soporific! The birds too are feeding on the bugs and insects in the garden, and the butterflies are making a welcome appearance now the buddleia is coming into flower.
As I just sit enjoying the beauty and abundance of God’s Creation the industrious bees put me to shame. They have a very short life span and so need to collect as much nectar as they can in the time available to them; hence their frantic activity. In fact they remind me of St James’s injunction: “But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only.” James 1:22. Of course he was not concerned about bees or gardening; he had a much more important task addressing the need for patience, the dangers of an unguarded tongue, the claims of Christian brotherhood in the young Churches of his time. But the interesting point about worker bees, apart from the fact that they are all male, of course, is that they are not collecting nectar for themselves but for the hive, for the community in which they live. (They are collecting it for the queen bee actually but without her there would be no hive so it amounts to the same thing.) And this surely illustrates the second great Commandment: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour.”
In an earlier blog, on Columbine, (01.06.2015) I saw the message of the resting garden as “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 and it is true that we all need to put our materialistic cares and worries to one side at some stage to enjoy and reflect upon the beauty and indeed the refreshment of God’s Creation, but we must not forget our Christian duties. Here I call to mind the words of the Quaker William Penn who said: “I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
So there is a time and place for everything; a time to rest and a time to work, but remember wherever you are He will be with you always.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years