Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
I am often asked why I write so much about the garden.The answer, I think, is that it has so much to teach us. It does not surprise me that our Franciscan brothers and sisters say that nature is the first bible. Just look at the glory and abundance of God's Creation displayed there; the ripening fruit falling to the ground now, the dazzling colour of the leaves before the fall to cover the driveway in Autumn, the birds and tiny insects each with heart and lungs just like you and me. The Franciscan view can be seen further in the seasons through which the garden passes, for there is: 'a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted' Ecclesiastes 3:2 NRSV. This coming Sunday we will celebrate Harvest Festival at St Mary Magdalene when we will give heartfelt thanks for God's bounty.
Yet as that festival demonstrates, the plants must die before their seeds are reborn next year. So too must we and here the garden provides an allegorical representation of our life, for remember that the Hebrew word for garden is Paradise and you will be reminded that God created the heaven and the earth and all living creatures, including mankind, to live in the Garden of Eden - the first Paradise. It was man's disobedience to God's will that led to his expulsion from that garden into the desert in which he wandered until the coming of the Messiah. In the Bible our next garden encounter is Gethsemane symbolizing the death of the 'old' man but leading to the garden in which St Mary Magdalene encountered Our Risen Lord and Saviour; man reborn. Finally after this life we arrive at that great celebration described in the Book of Revelations, the garden where we will live with God eternally. From Paradise we came; to Paradise we will return.
Let us then give thanks to God for the glory of His Creation, for the abundance of His bounty, and for all the lessons of the garden.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years