Sunday, July 05, 2009

If God is the gardener ...

It's there over and over in the Bible. "God planted a garden in the east." "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who planted ..." "The harvest is ready." "By its fruit you will know the tree." Lots more passages like that, though I won't start a catalog. My favorite of the stealth gardening verses, Mary Magdalen at the tomb: "She thought he was the gardener."

What is he trying to grow? This isn't a rhetorical question at all; I'm trying to figure it out. So what crops does he plant? There's the Tree of Life. He's creating more life ... that's what a seed is, after all, so we're on solid ground so far but very generic ground. Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? There are theories that it would have been permitted if we had resisted taking it for selfish gain. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness? I wonder. I very much wonder if that's what the crop was supposed to be.

So if that's the crop, how fruitful am I? Am I the little tree that hardly bore? The weedy patch? How many people do I love? And if the love is tainted by resentment or bitterness, does that work out to rotten fruit, something the birds pecked away at? And if I wanted this place to be the garden that God had envisioned, how do I love people more?

I think love starts at a very basic place: recognizing the good. That we do not recognize the good in each other is the most basic of the crimes we commit against each other every day. A full-fledged love also works to be a blessing; but the first blessing is that, to recognize and acknowledge the good in others, to take delight in what is good. "God saw that it was good." There is the foundation of thought about good and evil. And the most basic evil is being hard-hearted towards the good that is around us. It guarantees a small crop.

God grant me to see the goodness around me, especially in the people around me.


PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

You're right, the gardener theme is there. Odd isn't it how we can overlook things that are everywhere in the bible.

Howard said...

That's, no doubt, why the new city is a living thing, not just dust and stone - it is animated by love from, through and to the giver and sustainer of that life. He is the seed, and He will bring forth a harvest, however bruised and winnowing the clay vessel (us) the seed grows within.

Weekend Fisher said...

Hi guys

I still can't help but wondering ... if we're the crop or the trees or some such ... then what's the produce? I suspect it's love, and all that comes with that.

Take care & God bless

Steven said...

Don't forget faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Steven said...

Oops, goodness, too!

Weekend Fisher said...

You know, I think you're onto something with the "goodness" -- I mean, beyond running down Paul's list. Remember back to Eden, when the refrain was "and God looked at it and it was good." So that might be the best general answer for what God's trying to grow: goodness.

Thanks for that.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Sue said...

What is the ancient references to the tree in the garden have nothing whatsoever to do with gardens in the usual sense, but are a metaphor for something much more profound?

But also include gardens which contain growing plants and animals, and of course human beings.