Tending Our Spiritual Garden
“Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?”
I remember my grandmother reciting those words to me from the Mother Goose nursery rhymes book she favored. She was also quite the gardener, which probably explains her love of this particular nursery rhyme. She had two gardens in two counties and canned, froze, and preserved to her heart’s content. Her idea of a good time was teaching a young me how to can bread and butter pickles.
Years later, after Grandma Ruth died, my mother and I took up gardening – but we had a penchant for flowers, preferring to get much of our produce fresh or frozen from the store at bargain prices. Five kids in a busy household in town didn’t quite fill the bill for homesteading.
My love of flower gardening grew and is a remnant of the good memories I have with my mother – now 27 years gone. These days I share that pleasure with my husband, adult daughter, and grandchildren.
Growing things is an awesome miracle of life. Our Creator certainly knew what he was doing when He gave us an earth filled with seeds and plants and food to grow. His scriptural references to growth – vines, grapes, mustard seeds, and such – show that He loves this aspect of His creation as well. I’ve often heard statements about gardening or farming being a perfect example of hope and faith. It’s true. Planting a seed in the ground and having it sprout, grow, and flourish requires an uncommon optimism – a belief in the unseen. Gardening might even teach us a thing or two to apply to other aspects of our lives.
Although the Word of God relays His Messages through gardening and farming parables, His favorite ‘crop’ is us humans. We grow in love and faith and hope as He tends to our souls. In return, we are asked to bloom where we grow– no matter what our environment, nourishment, or pruning are. In as much as we are His creatures, He is the Sunlight toward which we grow. We are asked to blossom into children of God, with our eyes always fixed toward Eternity with Him. To help us flourish, God provides us with all of the nutrients necessary.
As a father hath compassion on his children, so hath the Lord compassion on them that fear him:
for he knoweth our frame. He remembereth that we are dust:
man’s days are as grass, as the flower of the field so shall he flourish. Psalm 103:13-15
The sacraments nourish our souls and our ability to work provides the opportunity to feed our bodies. However, free will allows us to choose what we accept and what we decline. Although God loves us unconditionally, we are free to live our lives freely. Am I fertile ground? Only my decisions and the grace of God can establish the end result.
As therefore you have received Jesus Christ the Lord, walk ye in him; Rooted and built up in him, and confirmed in the faith, as also you have learned, abounding in him in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-6