"A successful home garden comes with planning and constant attention! Select the site carefully, plant at the right time, use the right amount of fertilizer, use adapted varieties, control pests; then, harvest at the right time." (The Alabama.)
Oh dear. Maybe I'm in over my head. Even in simple terms gardening sounds complicated. Gardening uncomfortably illuminates my careless nature. I have to ask myself if I'm committed to this process.
What else, I wonder, am I careless about? If I'm hesitant to take great pains to have a successful home garden due to "planning and constant attention" what other areas of my life suffer from lack of constant attention?
My spiritual life is certainly like a garden, really everything in life is spiritual, and I do seek to attend to my walk with Christ. But there is an area more glaring.
For months, even a couple of years, I've been captured by the book of Ephesians and more lately I'm obsessed with Jesus' praying in John 14-17 for the unity of his family. My heart for orphans in Serbia was, and is being, birthed by the prayer "show me your heart God". His heart is love, adopting us, and longing for us to partner with him in loving one another.
So often we as Christians, I'm so guilty myself, have not troubled ourselves to learn the hard language of love. We focus on the form, the program, the duty but not the heart. Love is a garden, but it only blooms in community, in relationship.
"Before sea, sky, tree, bird, serpent, there was love: the eternal, infinite, pure love that flowed in and from Father to Son, Son to Spirit, and then back again, round and round, unhindered, unbroken, undiminished, wild and unbridled. The old theologians called this perichoresis, the self-giving dance of the Three-in-One God. God in himself is an entire community of radical love. God in himself is a city on a hill. And the pulse of that city, its lifeblood, is love." (Your Church Is Too Safe, Mark Buchanan)
Boy this gardening is becoming more important than I imagined. Beyond the vegetables I hope to harvest it is growing a new appreciation for the cultivation of a holy life. The huge word in my mind lately is unity and I think Mark Buchanan's new book 'Your Church Is Too Safe' will only fuel that fire.