Monthly Letter - March 2024
FINDING GOD IN THE GARDEN
Now that March has arrived, we begin to spot signs of spring emerging all around us. It is a season that beckons many of us outdoors, into our gardens or local parks to witness this yearly miracle unfold. I am no natural gardener but my three-year-old loves growing flowers and herbs and has shown me how fun it can be.
Gardening and faith have always been connected. After creating the cosmos God set to work to plant a garden—the Garden of Eden—a haven of abundance where people could live in peace with creation. Even after this peace was broken, and then renewed, God kept on gardening. Mary Magdalene confused the risen Christ for a gardener, a reminder, perhaps, that Jesus remains the gardener of the new creation.
In the quiet moments caring for our gardens, we may find ourselves in prayer as we kneel to weed or plant. As we sow seeds and witness the miracle of life bursting forth from the soil, we may find ourselves recalling the resurrection story— the power of death and rebirth that unfolds before our very eyes. By recalling the scriptures or meeting with God in prayer, our ordinary gardens can become sacred spaces where the presence of God can be felt.
But gardens are not just peaceful, still, places. There is also sweat, chores, sore backs, swelteringly hot or freezing cold days, disappointments and a relentless battle against weeds and pests. We face our own frailty and frustrations in our gardens and remember that God never gave up as a gardener, never gave up on us, or on this creation that God called good. Maybe it is only through our own gardening frustrations that we can see something of God’s endurance.
As George Bernard Shaw once said, "The best place to find God is in a garden. You can dig for Him there." So, if you are a gardener either at home or at a community garden or allotment then perhaps you might choose to see this as part of your daily prayer life this year.
With best wishes,
Part of URC Reading Group with Grange and Tilehurst United Reformed Churches
St Andrew's URC Reading
(c) St Andrews URC, Reading