For many of us lockdown three has felt the hardest so far. Perhaps it is because we had the Christmas lights around us, raising spirits before the third lockdown, and this was simply not the way we had hoped to be starting the new year. However, the Covid-19 vaccinations are being efficiently and effectively rolled out, already protecting those who are most vulnerable in our communities, and starting to work down the generations.
At the time of writing this to you we were approaching Valentine’s Day. We’ll be well into the season of Lent when you read this and Easter is just around the corner, another time of hope and the greatest expression of love.
Like during lockdown, we rediscover the importance of the garden during our own times of need. Sometimes it can be one of the places in which we can feel closest to God. Walking bare footed on the grass or hands in the soil or tending plants. Connected to His amazing creation and design. At Easter time we firstly revisit in the bible passages the garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of the Mountain of Olives in Jerusalem. Here, Jesus prayed, deeply distressed about what lay ahead, revealing His human nature as well as His sacrificial divine nature and love for God and each of us: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39
Jesus is later betrayed here with a kiss, a revered sign of friendship and love, then led like a lamb to the slaughter.
Secondly, we revisit the garden near to where Jesus was crucified, the place where His pierced body was laid in an empty tomb and then raised to life three days later! This garden provided space for mourning and grieving, as well as for the joyful wiping away tears as Mary finally recognises the gardener as Jesus, raised from the dead!
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
This wonderful quote by Audrey Hepburn wonderfully captures our hope and promise for the future in God. The world is His garden, full of provisions both mentally and physically, and He’s creating a better tomorrow.
Hope for all.