Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
As I’ve probably said before, there are a number of plants, shrubs and trees in my garden but each one is an individual in that each is a different size, shape, colour or design. There are strident red and gold wallflowers growing next to the soft pink camellia bush whilst at the feet of the salmon pink pieris sit a froth of sky blue aubrietia. Of course, amongst them are a few weeds but even they differ in size and shape from their neighbour. Yet they do not clash with one another; in fact they all flower quite happily together.
Now look around you at the person sitting next to you on the bus or train, in the supermarket, on the school run or your work colleagues. Whilst they may be of a different ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation, yet like you and me they were made in God’s image.
The simple question then is this. Why is it that the plants in my garden can live happily side by side and together produce a glorious display, whilst we humans with our supposedly vastly superior intelligence, find it so difficult to get on with one another?
Of course, this is not a new problem, since when writing to the young church at Corinth St Paul made just this point: ‘Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.’ 1 Corinthians 1:10 (AKJV) But many years have elapsed since he wrote that. Have we learned nothing in all that time? It seems not!
Next time you look out on your garden, or on the floral display in the local park, think what you need to do today to live Jesus’ commandment to Love Thy Neighbour.
I am an Authorised Local Preacher in an Anglo Catholic parish church, in the Diocese of Essex UK