Juliet said to Romeo, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
A retirement community in Bellevue is called The Gardens. But surprise! There is very little garden at The Gardens. The Gardens is a 5-story high-rise building among other high-rise buildings in down-town Bellevue. There are almost no trees or plants in their inner courtyard and just a few plants growing around the outside of the building. But why name the building, “The Gardens”, if there are no gardens? That’s for you to answer!
Tell each other about gardens you have seen, smelledt, tasted, heard or touched. What are the biggest gardens, the best gardens, the smallest gardens, the sweetest gardens you know of? Are there any gardens that you especially love to visit, to walk in, to sit in?
In Kyoto, Japan there is a Zen garden that has 15 rocks, some sand and a few plants. Do you like rock gardens? Do you know of any secret gardens?
In the Puget Sound area there are rose gardens, dahlia gardens and rhododendron gardens. Do you prefer flower gardens? vegetable gardens? fruit orchards? forests? Do you like to grow plants yourself? If so, where did you learn to garden and what do you like to plant or care for? Why do you like gardens?
My mother-in-law used to give me spider plants or ferns in little pots. But after a few months of my care, the plants always died. Finally, she realized it was a waste to give me plants. I love plants, but I’m not good at taking care of them. However, I’m better at taking care of other kinds of things, other gardens. I like to think of my house as a garden, and friends as gardens and my job as a garden. I too, am a gardener.
What kind of a non-plant garden do you take care of? What are you trying to grow in your life? Are you growing a career? a home? children? skills? intelligence? friendships? What do you do to take care of your non-plant garden? What kind of weeds do you have to pull? How do you water and feed your garden?
In the very beginning of the Bible we read:
“Now the Lord had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground - trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. . . The Lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
Perhaps the oldest profession is gardening! Think of the whole world as God’s garden. We each have a job to take care of some part of the garden. What kind of gardening will please God?
Another Bible writer says that the “fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Have you ever tried to grow this kind of fruit? How do you do it?