Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Some First thoughts about Gardeners and Sowers

purple irisI was back home last week and one of the first things that I did was get over to my mom's house to say hello.
I noticed almost immediately that many of the flowers in her garden were either cut back, or gone.

My mother has grown iris, roses, and chrysanthemums since before I was a little boy. She told me that they had experienced a terrible freeze in February and some of her plants didn't make it. She had to remove some of the plants and pruned many others back, almost to the ground. It was sad for me, as I think it was for her. Nonetheless, we observed where a few of the plants were recovering in the shade of the house, even as the temperatures sky-rocketed over 100 degrees. Plants are very hearty, especially when properly tended to, and given the proper set of circumstances and care to grow.

The Prophet Isaiah writes: For as the rain and the snow

Parable of the Sower
Parable of the Sower - Earnest Graham

come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Isn't life on the whole somewhat similar to my mother's garden and Isaiah's hopes? Winters come and go. Summer arrives. The flowers or vegetables in the gardens of our lives suffer setbacks, contend with adverse conditions, and flourish when they receive proper amounts of sun, rain, and stewardship. Most days are ordinary, some are not.

We count on God through the ecological and environmental processes of life to offer us the circumstances that we need to live abundantly. Nonetheless, our gardens do not tend to their own needs in and of themselves. We must be observant and involved.

God expects us to properly receive the seeds of creation's bounty as well as to sow and distribute the fruits and vegetables of our labors. How are the irises, roses, and chrysanthemums of your Christian spirituality and faith doing. Are they well? Are you sharing the beauty of the God-given gifts with others? Don't take Jesus Christ's Grace for granted nor expect that all is necessarily well without your involvement and prayer. Most successful gardeners that I know love the work of their hands as well as the art of The Creator who initiates life in the first place. Taste and see that the Lord is good at church as well as out in the world where and when you encounter God.

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