Monday, August 31, 2009
Gardens and the Kingdom of God
Moving out to Mertens has reaped benefits for me both spiritually and for the food that Sarah and I eat. We live among farmers who grow all this incredible food. They all not only grow food for profit, but they all have personal gardens which grow the best onions and tomatoes I have ever had. When talking to these farmers about their farming and their gardens, I am struck by how much they do and how much they cannot control. Each year the farmer worries about whether or not it is going to rain or if the sun will scorch the crops. Or they worry if a late freeze that is unexpected will ruin a pasture of freshly planted crops. They worry about animals or insects. What they have told me is that they create the conditions for the growth of crops, but they cannot cause growth.
I do not think it was a mistake that the author of Genesis tells us that the world that God created at peace with him was a garden. A garden is something that you work hard at maintaing. A garden is something that you constantly pull weeds, water, till the ground, prune the plants, and plant seeds. At the same time a garden takes incredible faith. No matter how hard you work, you cannot control whether or not you will have good crops or a beatiful bloom.
The kingdom of God and his church is like a garden. We do have work to do. We have seeds to plant, plants to water, the hungry to feed, and a message of new life in the midst of death. However, we cannot control the result. We are not a repair shop. We are a garden. God is the only one who controls the results of the garden. What do we do in the mean time? Keep working, keep praying, keep becoming his people, and most of all keep loving and proclaiming the Christ story with our lives. God will produce the results. Sometimes they may not be what we think or what we hope for, but this is God's world, God's Kingdom, and God's church. God started the world in a garden, and God resurrected Jesus in a garden. God, may your church be your garden where new life is found.