03 June, 2013

The Garden

 Back in the day, I remember Saturdays spent shelling peas and butter beans.  It was the worst of Saturday duties for me.  I wanted to be out and about.  I can still feel the cold pan, full of beans, wedged between my legs as I peeled purple-hull peas.  My fingers turned purple and became sore long before I reached the end of my pan of peas.  And I can still smell those fresh peas, there's really nothing like that richness.  My parents weren't true gardeners until my daddy retired and I had left home for college.  Daddy only had a small garden but it bore much produce which meant picking, peeling and "putting up" the fresh crop.

We have friends in Tuscaloosa who have a large garden plot.  They work the soil, fight the deer, water, weed and love the work and effort and reward!  I love the spoils of their hard work.  (I've been promised fresh veggies and in late summer....Fig preserves!!! Oh my!)

And then, there are other gardens to discuss...
Before Easter, as we studied Jesus' last moments in the Garden of Gethsemane it struck me that there was another Garden story in the Bible and I had never connected them in my brain.  So the first garden is the Garden of Eden where God created such beauty and plans for us.  The Garden of Eden where we first were thought of and planned and created and given vision and given hope and a future.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.  Genesis 2:15
Then much, much later we find Jesus, the Christ in another garden, the Garden of Gethsemane.  A garden that marks an unparalleled prayer of desperation and trust between Jesus and His Father.  A prayer of honesty, a prayer where all feelings poured out.  In this Garden, Jesus felt the weeds, the death of all things and still persevered because He KNEW life was on the other side.  REAL LIFE.

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will"
Mark 14:32-36

Ray and I started a little herb garden this year.  We started with just a flat little piece of ground and developed it into our tiny, little vision.  I love it and am tending it as best I can.  Last week, I was weeding in this little garden and it was so very hot outside.  I had my stinky, gardening sweat going full blast:)  As I leaned over these little baby herb plants, sweat from my body dripped on some the delicate little leaves.  Uh oh, I thought....but then I wondered, if I'd just encountered a God moment and remembered the two Gardens.  The Genesis Garden of hope and vision and the Garden of Gethsemane....the Garden of hard work, sweat, honesty, and real LIFE.

We are called to the world to work our own gardens.  Gardens that are filled with plants perhaps but most importantly gardens of people who surround us.  My garden of people is often easy to dismiss, easy to overlook for these people don't look like me or act like me.  This personal garden of mine is also hard to work at times.  For the problems in this garden are so much bigger than me and my little brain.  I've also experienced times when the vision for my people-garden has not grown into a rich harvest but a rather unsavory end.  So I'm reminded of God walking in the first Garden and seeking His creation to love and adore.  Then I'm reminded of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane amongst the pain and anguish and yet....He chose LIFE and He gives life.  How can I not share that in my garden?

Dare I go dig in my people-garden today?  How can I fail for HE is with me?  I dare you.....go to your garden.