St. Thomas Episcopal Church | Medina

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Thoughts and Happenings

Gardening

Posted by The Rev. Karen Haig on

…The kiss of the sun for pardon, the song of the birds for mirth, one is nearer God's heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth. —Dorothy Frances Gurney

Sometime about three years ago, I spent several afternoons digging plants out of the garden in the old St. Thomas close. There were many of us who did that … taking plants home that would otherwise have been bulldozed right along with our old parish hall. It was a sweet task and one I am very happy I did. Because right now, along with the peonies, the poppies, the trillium and the lilies, the St. Thomas irises are coming up in my garden.

I love this time of year in the garden and in the church. This is the time of year when nature tells exactly the same story our liturgical church year tells us. For fifty glorious days we celebrate Easter and the love and life force so powerful that not even death could contain it. In the resurrection I am awestruck by God’s life-giving, love-giving Spirit, and I feel a quiet version of that same sort of awe when I am in the garden. It is an extraordinary thing to watch tiny seeds grow into glorious flowering plants, and to see that the rich dark earth in my garden can no more contain the seeds planted there than the tomb could contain Jesus. Everywhere, everywhere, life springs forth!

Gardening is for me a deeply spiritual practice. It connects me to the Source of all life and tunes my heart to the cycles of life and the rhythms of nature. The dying and rising we experience in our baptisms and all throughout our Christian lives, is the story of every garden. Whether I am digging in compost, planting seeds and seedlings, weeding, pruning or clearing, every aspect of gardening has something to teach me about my relationship with the earth, with myself, with the people around me, and with God. Gardening isn’t a metaphor for life, gardening is life. To garden is to be truly present to the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of all things. To garden is to feel oneself a part of all creation.

While Jesus was once mistaken for a gardener, we don’t have any evidence that he actually tended a garden of his own. But Jesus was forever using plants and seeds to tell the stories of God’s kingdom come among us, stories about how he lived and how we, too, are to live. “I am the vine and you are the branches[1],” “Consider the lilies, they neither toil nor spin,[2]” “Listen! A sower went out to sow.[3]

Whether you have a pot on your little front stoop or an acre of cultivated gardens, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is to get out there and garden. To plant, to feed, to water, to prune, to lovingly watch over one small thing the way God lovingly watches over you. Gardening brings us closer to God by bringing us into contact with the glory of God’s creation and the absolute miracle of our “ wild and precious lives.”[4] So find a pot, get some dirt, plant a seed, and delight in wondering what God wants to help you cultivate as your garden.

Abundant blessings, Karen


[1] John 15:5

[2] Matthew 6:28

[3] Matthew 13:3; Mark 4:3

[4]Wild Geese; Mary Oliver’s Dreamwork;1986

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