You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
The other day we went down to the garden centre – just for a look around you understand. But there is always room for another plant in the garden isn’t there? Unsurprisingly, we did not come away empty handed. As a result we spent a happy, but tiring day digging up some of the old plants now past their best replacing them with the new ones. And, of course, the roses have had their final pruning for the year, but there are still a few unruly shoots out of place to be tidied up. In all a busy day after which we were glad to come indoors for a rest.
Gardens and gardeners play an important part in our Christian life too, of course.
A few weeks ago in these reflections we spoke of the relevance of the two trees the first in Eden and the second at Calvary. That first garden has been called the garden of disobedience, since mankind in the form of Adam refused to listen to God’s command and ate the forbidden fruit.
On the other hand Gethsemane might be considered the second garden; the garden of obedience, perhaps. Here Jesus, God in human form, prayed 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’ Matthew 26:39(NIV). Read those last words again: Yet not as I will, but as you will. He accepted that God’s task for Him was more important than His own wishes.
On Easter Day we come to the third garden; the garden of salvation. Remember the scene; Mary Magdalene, standing at the entrance of the now empty tomb, crying. When the angels asked her why she cries she replied: “Because they have taken my Lord away”. At that point a gardener appears, or at least that is what Mary thinks. Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’ 16 Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ John 20:15. Notice that He calls her by her name. She runs to tell the other disciples that Jesus lives! Later Jesus will appear to them sending them out to proclaim the Good News. In the same way God calls us by name to show God to the world.
That, I think, is the message of the gardens. Just as we go into the garden to plant new seeds or shrubs so God calls us by name to carry out His will each day. When we have finished our gardening we return indoors to rest. In the same way once we have completed the task God has given us we will return to our eternal home, the fourth and final garden, to give an account of our endeavours and to rest from our work. From Paradise to Paradise.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years