Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
The other year we went along to the Royal Horticultural Society’s Annual Flower Show in the Royal Hospital grounds at Chelsea in London. This is the place to go to see gardens at their very best; confirmed by the fact that each year HM the Queen goes along to open it. Then follow exclusive ‘RHS member’s days’ before the Show is open to the public. There are a number of gardens designed and laid out by the country’s top garden designers with immaculate displays of plants in the best possible setting. In the enormous Exibition Hall are the very latest cultivars of plants and shrubs with not a leaf or a petal out of place. How do they do that? It is almost like King Solomon’s Temple in all its glory.
Coming home and looking at our humble patch ... What a difference! And yet we remember what Jesus said about Solomon. ‘Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you – you of little faith! Luke 12:27-28 NIV
He will not only clothe you but care for you and love you unconditionally, too. What then are we called to do in return? What can we do? After all we are more like the humble garden outside the back window than the gorgeous perfect Chelsea gardens.
But then we recall that Jesus did not choose Pharisees, Scribes or Sadducees, expert in the Mosaic law, as His disciples, he chose ordinary folk, fishermen, tax collectors and the like. Among us there are undoubtedly some shining examples of saintly goodness but on the whole we are all rather ordinary folk with all the frailties and weaknesses of common man. Yet poor and fallible as we are Jesus calls each of us just as He called the disciples. As St Paul wrote to Timothy:
7 For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.
8 So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord...... 2 Timothy 1:7-8
Ok, maybe you feel that you are not sufficiently well skilled in theology or perhaps you do not think you have the courage to go out there and do what God wants you to do. When that happens remember that the roses are starting to bloom in my little garden proclaiming the glory of God just as the immaculate gardens of Chelsea do. So you can be sure that God has a role for you to play in His grand plan. After all as the old hymn says: All things created bear your trace; The seed of glory sown in man Will flower when we see your face.
I am an Authorised Local Preacher in an Anglo Catholic parish church, in the Diocese of Essex UK