Gardens: It is that time of year again when we play in the dirt and plant our vegetables and flowers, which add beauty to our landscape along with food for our tables.
GARDENS ARE AN OASIS
Even though tending gardens is hard work and tedious at times, many enjoy gardening.
It can be a spiritual retreat – making a person feel closer to the creation and therefore, God Himself.
Although I don’t enjoy planting or caring for a garden, and know little about flowers, I too find them a place to go for gathering my thoughts and seeking God.
Additionally, gardens are tourist attractions for their beauty. When I visited Arizona, the Botanical Gardens in Phoenix provided an afternoon of meditation to an otherwise chaotic schedule. There is something peaceful about a garden.
SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF GARDENS
However, not only are gardens beautiful and peaceful, they are spiritually significant.
The beginning of human life, the fall of man, Jesus’ betrayal, burial, and resurrection all took place in a garden.
WOW – think about that – the entire redemption story all took place in gardens!
GARDEN OF EDEN
It is interesting to note that the Bible tells us that God planted the garden. Just like a man today enjoys planting a garden, I’m sure God took joy in the process.
Of course, most everyone knows the Garden of Eden was home, at least for a time, of the first man and woman. In Genesis 2:15, the Bible tells us that God placed the man in the garden to work and take care of this beautiful place. Even Eden required regular tending.
Eden was a peaceful place; God even called it good, but not perfect. Consequently, Satan was able to infiltrate this Paradise and deceive the woman and bring about sin and our fallen world.
Praise God that Revelation 21: 27 promises us a Heaven where evil has no access.
GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE
Gethsemane was an olive grove east of Jerusalem and in Hebrew means an olive press. Hence this garden was a commercial entity that made olive oil – a precious commodity used for everything from cooking and cleaning to lamp fuel.
Of course, this garden had many olive trees which provided shelter and a place of solitude for those seeking a time of meditation.
Jesus knew his earthly life was coming to an end in a very traumatic manner. After eating His final meal with the disciples and giving them final instructions, Jesus went to Gethsemane to talk with His father.
Finding a quiet place he prepared for the upcoming events. However, the tranquility this garden usually offered escaped Him tonight. His anxiety so monumental He sweated blood, a condition known as hematidrosis.
Then it happened – chaos disrupted the quiet atmosphere. Judas and a gang of men invaded Jesus’ sanctuary, and with a kiss, the Son of God was betrayed and led off to die for crimes He did not commit.
GARDEN OF THE TOMB
Jesus burial site is up for debate, like so many other things in Christianity. We seem to like to argue with one another on the nonessentials. There is The Garden Tomb, Church of The Holy Sepulchre, and Basilica of St. Stephen all vying for the honor of Jesus’ burial site.
I’ll let the scholars quibble over the actual site; however, we know it was a tomb located in a garden. John 19:41- 42 tells us: “The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover, and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.” (NLT)
Ironically Joseph of Arimathea, owner of the tomb, and part of the Sanhedrin that wanted Jesus’ crucifixion, and Nicodemus, a Pharisee, buried Jesus. These Jewish religious leaders were afraid to openly follow Jesus when he was alive. On the other hand, the disciples who followed Jesus are, for the most part, running scared. Did they not care if He had a proper burial?
Grief, sadness, and fear were the overwhelming emotions that Friday. The tomb was secured, and it was over – at least that is what most thought. But hang on, Sunday is coming, when Jesus rescues us all.
Jesus arises from the dead in this very garden. Don’t you wonder if it was quiet or explosive when the tomb gave way to our risen Lord? Were the angels present? What did this garden witness?
OTHER BIBLICAL REFERENCES TO THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF GARDENS
Despite gardens playing an essential role in our redemption, there are other biblical references to the spiritual significance of gardens.
Gardens represent prosperous times
During Solomon’s reign as King of a combined Judah and Israel, there was peace and prosperity. 1 Kings 4:25 records it like this: “During the lifetime of Solomon, all of Judah and Israel lived in peace and safety. And from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, each family had its own home and garden.” (NLT) Some translations say “their own vine and fig tree,” which in biblical times is a type of garden.
Everyone having a garden as a source of food was an indication of a contented and prosperous society overall.
Gardens indicate blessings
“The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a well-watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail” (Isaiah 58:11 NKJV)
There is a caveat to the above verse. When we worship God in truth, we will be like a “well-watered garden.” Knowing and having a relationship with the one and only true God brings blessings that pour out on us, and we will bloom like a beautiful garden that offers substance and beauty to the world.
Jesus refers to God as a gardener
In John 15:1, Jesus refers to “The Father” as a gardener who cares for His garden. This is just one more name for our God, whose mosaic of attributes weave together to make Him the perfect and holy God.
Thus when you are planting, weeding, and watering your garden this year, think about the spiritual significance of your work.
THIS MONTH’S WORKOUT SERVICE PROJECT
Know a disabled person who would love a garden, but is unable to do the work needed? Perhaps you are aware of an older person who now lives in an apartment and had to give up gardening? Help them plant an indoor garden!
Click here to check out some neat ideas for gardening within four walls. You might brighten someone’s spring and summer!
As always, I welcome contributions in the comment section below.
Last month our workout was about the spiritual aspects of silence. Did anyone try being silent before the Lord? If you did, please share your experience. See comments for my experiment with not talking.
Also, any gardening tips or comments on this month’s article are welcome too.
Welcome to all newcomers to WSC. You might be wondering what I am referring to when I talk about our monthly workout. Click here for an explanation.
Enjoy the peace and spiritual uplifting of your gardens. Blessings until next time.
Last month’s blog (Is Silence Biblical?) was our Christian workout project. As we do each month with our Christian workout articles, there was a serving suggestion. In May, this suggestion was more about spending time with God than serving others. So since I suggested spending time in silence, I embarked on a morning of silence but thought I would include listening to worship music. As stated in last month’s article, God ordered the Israelites to be silent when they walked around Jericho, but the horns still blasted. Well, my CD player didn’t work, and I couldn’t find the other one that I thought I had. Of course, there are other options for music, but I got frustrated, and just decided to “shut up” for the morning.
So what happened? It did allow me to think and meditate on the things of God. Instead, of preparing what I was going to say or who I was calling, I was focused on more godly pursuits. The quietness did calm my spirit and reduced the chaos in my mind. Now I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I sometimes talk to myself – out loud! Not doing that kept my morning quiet and peaceful.
While I found not talking for about half a day uplifting, I hope to expand my experiment. One day I hope to attend a silent retreat and see what God has to say! I hope some of you will share your experience.