I have spent lots of time in my gardens this summer. I have discovered just how physically demanding gardening is and how sedentary my life usually is. The most demanding thing has been moving plants and edging the borders. We thought that hiring a landscaper last year to design and lay out the gardens made sense as we were novice gardeners. For a variety of reasons, I was not happy with the results, so this summer I have been moving, removing and incorporating new shrubs into the three beds we have. As always when my hands are busy, my mind and heart are free to roam and ramble, and I began pondering how gardening is like ministry, specifically like people who make up a congregation. .
- Some plants won’t thrive in a particular spot no matter how much care and attention you give them, so find a spot where they will.
- Some plants put down roots immediately when you move them and thrive without a lot of time and effort.
- Some plants need special treatment, but the results are well worth the added workload.
- Some plants need space around them to thrive, others need to lean on the surrounding ones.
- Some plants flourish immediately when planted, some need a season or two, don’t give up too soon.
- Some plants are showy and dazzle you with their beauty, some plants need a second or third look to appreciate their appeal.
- Some plants have thorns and need delicate handling.
- Some plants are firmly rooted and can withstand wind and rain and early frost, some wither and die without adequate support.
- Some plants simply cannot flourish in your garden; and the best thing for them is to lovingly dig them up and give them to someone who has a better place for them.
Above all, gardening takes time, commitment, patience and liberal doses of compost in order to flourish and grow. It’s always a work in progress and nothing is ever finished. As my congregation starts to explore amalgamation this fall, I wonder what kind of garden we are creating and what kind of plants we all are.
And that’s my window on God’s world.