Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
“See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth: the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” Song of Songs 2:11-13(NIV)
The weather has been remarkably mild over this winter in this part of the country. There has been no snow and little frost; it has been cold, wet and windy, of course but otherwise quite mild. Now winter seems to be more or less over as the author of the verses above from about the 3rd century BC says.
Friday was a particularly bright day which enabled us to do some work in our garden, bringing shrubs into shape and giving the roses their final prune. Now, I can hear some of you at this point saying “Oh no, not the garden again! We had to read about that all last year. Surely he has something new to say!” The simple answer is that this small plot proclaims God’s Will and Word in so many different ways. For example, it reminds us of Our Lord’s words “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. Luke 12:27 (NIV). Again after a hard day’s work in the garden it provides us with the opportunity to “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46.10. (NIV)
I commend those two verses to you as they are worthy of contemplation without going any further. But the lesson I wish to call to your attention is that the garden teaches gratitude.
Gratitude that God has allowed us to see the garden in the Spring of 2016. Gratitude that the plants are flowering once again and the birds making their nests; in other words a reminder that the cycle of God’s Creation is continuing unabated, whatever we humans do to the world. Gratitude to be able to enjoy fully the many good things the garden has to offer. Lastly, gratitude for the fact that Jennifer and I were able to work in the garden together on Friday, as we have done in so many years past. Perhaps not in the same part of the garden, after all we each need our space sometimes, but together nevertheless.
I am an Authorised Local Preacher in an Anglo Catholic parish church, in the Diocese of Essex UK