The Garden is where Jesus was buried and resurrected to new life. This is what happens in a garden. The dry, seemingly lifeless seeds from the harvest of the past are buried in the earth. We wait for something mysterious to happen under the earth, out of sight, and fueled by water and air. Then we rejoice in the new life that springs up in front of us, growing into a beautiful flower or nutritious fruits or vegetables that will give us joy and sustain our very lives.
What happens in the Garden IS the story of the Christianity. Death becomes new life, despite a seemingly hopeless state of affairs at the beginning of the process. We proceed in faith that something will happen despite our inability to see anything hopeful happening at all. How this all happens is mostly a mystery. But eventually, a tiny sprout of new life pokes through the soil. This new life is fragile and might wither. But with careful tending and protection of this new life, the plant will grow tall and strong and give us the life-sustaining nutrition we need so much.
By resurrecting in a Garden, perhaps Jesus shared with us his best teachable moment. Perhaps Jesus wanted to draw our attention to the garden, once and forever, urging us to look – really look – at what happens in the garden. In his resurrected form, Jesus was first thought to be the gardener. Perhaps the role of the gardener – the cultivator of God’s creation, an expert on the process of gardening, someone who pays attention to what is going on in the natural world – is a role we might explore as we seek to cultivate and grow our own spiritual lives.
We often feel most at peace in the garden. Perhaps it is this peace that Jesus sought in the Garden of Gethsemane before his death on the Cross. Perhaps it was the awareness of all life – ending, beginning, and continuing on, through all our human births and deaths – that consoled Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane or helped him confront worldly temptations in the wilderness, immediately after his Baptism and in preparation for his public ministry.
This peace in the garden and in the wilderness is something we can have in our own world today. This peace is often right outside the door, a place of solace and quiet available at all times. The natural world can also be a place of spiritual growth and development of wisdom, if we only step outdoors and pay attention in quiet and solitude, listening to God with our hearts.
Easter Blessings, Cindy
Cynthia Coe is the author of “Earth our Garden Home: Creation Care Lessons for Children” and “Wild Faith: A Creation Care Curriculum for Youth,” both available in paperback and Kindle editions. Considering Birds & Lilies is now available at http://amzn.to/2rjWSnU. All of these books are included in Kindle Unlimited.