Faith: Gardens are powerful places
The power in a garden comes from life out of death
Easter isn’t just a day or a liturgical season. It’s the gift of new life for us every day from our Lord’s victory over death!
As we’re in this new life season right now, especially as it's reflected in nature all around us, consider this quote from theologian Kristofer Coffman: “It is remarkable for me to remember that the great story of creation and redemption doesn’t begin and end in the halls of power or on a battlefield with kings and troops. Instead, it begins and ends in a garden.”
This truth is especially reflected in the resurrection story from the gospel of John when Mary mistakes the risen Jesus for the gardener.
“Jesus said to [Mary], ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’" (John 20:15-16)
Gardens are powerful places, but not with the kind of power that’s associated with titles, wealth, status symbols or other ways our society likes to perceive and define power. The power in a garden comes from life out of death.
Jesus talks about this kind of power as his glory in John 12:24: “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain, but if it dies it bears much fruit.”
There’s vulnerability in this power; it comes from life out of death, just like what happens in nature, what you find in gardens and the cycles of Mother Nature year after year.
So, as we go about preparing gardens, yards and fields now, how are we, too, cultivating these signs of new life and hope around us for the world with this kind of power?
How do we point to these promises of love and life from our Lord, made possible by his death and new life for us? And how do we cultivate and point to this new life and hope in our lives, neighborhoods and communities?
That’s our prayer this Easter, and every day, to see and share the new life of Christ. To help do this, I offer you two verses, as a prayer from a wonderful hymn out of our Evangelical Lutheran Worship book, entitled “There in God’s Garden.”
There in God's garden stands the Tree of Wisdom, whose leaves hold forth the healing of the nations: Tree of all knowledge, Tree of all compassion, Tree of all beauty. All heav'n is singing, "Thanks to Christ whose passion offers in mercy healing, strength, and pardon. Peoples and nations, take it, take it freely!"
Amen! My Master!
Kristin Oltmann is senior pastor at Crosslake Lutheran Church.