The last several weeks I've reflected on how big of a part they play throughout the Bible as well. On Easter, I shared an article from Sustainable Traditions comparing the germination of dormant seeds to the resurrection of Jesus. This week will revisit the human-natural-spiritual connection as we look at nature and the gardens of Eden and Gethsemane.
|"There's something about examining a delicate flower, or
admiring a rushing waterfall that reminds us we are not accidents,
and our God is an awesome God!" -Read more at newspring.cc
These were God's first missionary. We can learn much about God by considering the works of His hands. Creation highlights a number of God’s attributes--His character traits.
Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:20
For a full commentary on Romans 1:20 go to jcblog.net
The Bible also draws attention to nature to illustrate lessons about life and conduct as guidance for us. See also Psalm 19:1-2
Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? Job 12:7-9
Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise Proverbs 6:6
Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed..." Matthew 13:3
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:1-2
Garden of Delight
The Hebrew word "Eden" means delight. What was it like?
Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:8-9
Trees. "Pleasing to the eye and good for food". Sound familiar?
This wasn't just a backyard vegetable garden, but a massive food forest, teeming with plant and animal life, strikingly beautiful, with an abundance of food.
Original Mission - What were we made to do?
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)
One reason for being created was to be caretakers and stewards of this miraculous place that had all we needed. Eden was a paradise that had all humans needed, but yet we wanted just a little more... and for that we were expelled. But we still live on this planet created for us, which is an amazing place.
"God is not asking us to turn everything into a productive vegetable garden, but is asking us to serve the needs of our earth, and to recognize its goodness and worth."
Read more on the vocation of "Avad:To Serve the Earth"
Garden of Gethsemane
Gethsemane means Place of the Olive Press, this Garden included trees. Natural settings can calm our spirits and bring a sense of well-being. Jesus went there with the disciples to pray often.
Prayers in a garden, not the temple?
Jesus himself found comfort, peace and a favorite place to pray at Gethsemane.
The most famous visit to the garden was the night of Judas's betrayal, after their Passover feast. The events of that night, in the Garden of Gethsemane, have echoed through the centuries in art, music, books and recently film. (Matthew 26:36-56, Mark 14:32-52, Luke 22:40-53 & John 18:1-11)
|Ancient Olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane
Would you like to "feed your flock" as well as enhancing your faith community's space?
A space designated for a garden such as these would provide an area where people could go and experience God's Creation. One could spend time in communion with God through a forest garden, much as Adam and Eve might have. These natural spaces would provide a sense of calming and peace, like Jesus and his disciples felt at Gethsemane. These gardens would also provide nutrient rich food to use or share in the community, while needing less maintenance than traditional community gardens or manicured lawn space.
Abundant Design can help with your mission of sharing God's glory.
These types of Forest Gardens are our specialty!
Maybe you would like a smaller version for your own backyard, we can do that too!