Saturday, September 02, 2006

On Garden's and Soul's

On Saturday, I took a break from study to weed the front garden of the church. Some begrudge me this pleasure because they think I have more important things to do and because others in the church should step up to do such tasks so that I can devote myself to prayer and preaching. They are probably right on the others needing to step up but wrong if they think I can neither pray nor preach while gardening.

I walk through this garden probably 3-4 times per week. I never cease to find weeds. It is a constant, though not always unpleasant chore. Not only do I find weeds in multiple varieties, clingy, viney structures that creep along the ground and into the planted flowers, tall tap-rooted weeds that steal water and nourishment from the flowers, spindly grasses that hide in the center of the rose bushes, succulent weeds whose roots are deep and persistent, but I find new ones all the time. It's endless really.

Sometimes I see weeds that are in the area I just weeded as if they have grown there in the blink of an eye or the turn of my back. Today I found one weed that was two feet high! I hadn't seen it on Thursday when I strolled through the garden looking for weeds, but there it was on Saturday, boldly proclaiming that it had escaped my plucking hand for much longer than two days. It was disguised by it proximity to a tall flower but it also had escaped my notice precisely because I didn't expect it there. I had been looking for smaller, just-getting-started-weeds, closer-to-the-ground weeds, and didn't expect to see one the size of a Redwood.

So I doubled my efforts to eradicate as many of the leafy protuberances as possible. I went over the garden inch by inch twice. It is now clear, to the glancing-eye, of weeds. The problem however is that it is not clear to the inspecting-eye. All my experience tells me that on Sunday when I wander out to the garden during the church picnic, I will find more--more of the things I don't want, more of the things I missed, more of the things that rob the water, nourishment and beauty of the garden.

It's like that in my soul too.

"Lord, help to be a better gardener of my soul than I am of the garden in front of the church. Keep reminding me and showing me the sins and imperfections and entanglements that strangle my love and devotion to you and destroy the beauty of my life to others."


Anonymous said...

Hopefully, you found new seeds in that garden on Sunday waiting for SON-light and nourishment which only comes from Jesus!

Anonymous said...

time to update

Anonymous said...

(hi marty, i'm new at the church and am checking out your blog.)

it's funny you bring that up about gardening. i have especially noticed this summer how ripe gardening/weeding is with metaphors for our spiritual walk. i like how you described all the different weeds because it re-emphasized the way that satan really uses a variety of strategies to choke us up, steal our nourishment. how some weeds that may have been small and unnoticeable one day turn into bold, hearty stalks that take a good deal of strength to pull out. i echo your prayer and pray for eyes to see the weeds and the discipline to root them out.