July 2013

Summer time at last. You know what that means, don’t you?
No, not rain.
The opportunity to do some gardening.
Or if you are someone who doesn’t like gardening (that would be me then), the chance to visit other people’s gardens and enjoy them.

It is lovely to wander round the gardens, admiring plants and statues and fruits and vegetables. I love gardens with cleverly designed nooks and crannies and sights and sounds and smells to lift the soul. Those of us whose gardens are more full of overgrown beds, things that need to go to the skip or nothing much at all, often feel a little bit envious of these beautiful places.

But I know the secret of a wonderful garden.
Would you like to know?
Hard work.
Green fingered people put a lot of effort into making these green retreats the delights that they are. They have spent hours planting, wedding, moving things around, watering, encouraging, digging, pruning. And the results have paid off. They literally reap what they sow.

It is much the same with faith. Sometimes we see people who have rich spiritual lives or who know the Bible inside out and sometimes we wish we could be like these people. And we can. The secret… hard work. You get out what you put in, you reap what you sow The more time you spend with God the closer you become. The more you read and explore the Bible, the deeper your understanding.

Of course our gardeners don’t just put all the time into their gardens because they love to punish themselves. No, rather they love to spend time feeling close to nature and then enjoying the results of their labour. They feel good. And so it is with our faith journey. To grow closer to God is a blessing. To know more of the Bible is to be enriched.

And why not combine the two? As Dorothy Frances Gurney wrote,

The kiss of sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.