Spring has sprung! The birds are chirping, crickets creaking 🙂 – (not a real word, but I like it). All of nature seems to call out to me, telling me that it is time to create a new and beautiful canvas on the outside of my home. I love outdoor living. Comfortable seating, tables for eating, fellowship and all around family fun. The only thing that is missing is a lazy river or creek flowing by the side of my home. I love sitting outside looking at water, but if no water is available, the next best thing is gazing upon the lovely flowers and trees that grace the streets of our old Victorian neighborhood.
As I walk the streets of this community, I am awe struck by the creative artistry in the gardens of my neighbors. The curb appeal of these homes stimulate me to execute my own creative plan and begin to imagine what kind of awesome creations will grace my garden this year. When I should be grocery shopping at our local discount store, I find myself filling the cart with colorful little knick knacks that will add fun and whimsy to my garden. That’s the easy part. The hard part for me is the flowers. Which ones should I choose? Do I want shade loving or full sun? Perennials or Annuals? My answer – easy flowers that require little maintenance and attention.
My husband often jokes with me that if you visit our local nursery, they will have a picture of my face with a red circle around it and a line drawn through the middle. The intended message; “Do not let this woman near your flowers! I’ll admit that I have had my ups and downs when it comes to gardening, but I keep trying every year because of the potential joy of a successful planting.
Living with one another in Christian Community is very similar to some of the characteristics that make the process of gardening challenging and fulfilling. We often prefer people who are easy and need little maintenance. We don’t necessarily want to deal with all of hard work that comes with successful planting. Before we can even begin to think about planting, the soil must be tilled. All the debris from seasons past; the stones, weeds and other foreign matter must be cleared away. We must remove anything in the soil that would hinder healthy growth of the new seedling.
Parable of the Sower
“Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
We live in a world that produces many bitter, stoney places in the hearts of people. Storms come and go leaving in its wake devastation and despair. People we interact with every day are afraid to believe that anything beautiful could ever grow in the soil of their hearts again. They have no vision for the garden because of the density of the weeds. The soil of their hearts no longer have the nutrients necessary to nurture a healthy plant.
I recently learned of a different type of gardening called guerrilla gardening. Land that is guerrilla gardened is a piece of property that has either been abandoned or neglected. People who see and have compassion concerning the neglect, boldly take over the land to create a new landscape. Perhaps this type of gardening is what some of the broken people we meet need to flourish.
Seed Balls are often used in this type of gardening. The balls, which are made from a mixture of clay, compost, and seeds, can be tossed wherever you want plants to grow, and will break up as the seeds begin to germinate. I wonder what would happen if we did this with God’s love. If we used the seed of John 3:16, “for God so loved the world, that he gave his son…” What if we wrapped it in the compost of Romans 5:8 – “God commended his love to us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. What if we held it altogether with 1Corinthians 13:6-8, remembering that “love never fails”. The possibilities are endless.
Maybe a more appropriate term for this type of spiritual gardening is “Grace Gardening”. This type of gardening flourishes at the hand of our Master gardener Jesus, without very much planning on our part. The beautiful flowers will grow because of unmerited favor. Favor that was generously poured out upon us all because of the finished work of the cross.
I am anxiously awaiting to see what will become of the seed balls I scattered in my garden. No matter what the outcome, I scattered them by faith believing for a beautiful harvest.