Then the Lord God planted a garden in the East, in a place named Eden. He put the man he made in that garden. Then the Lord God caused all the beautiful trees that were good for food to grow in the garden. In the middle of the garden, he put the tree of life and the tree that gives knowledge about good and evil. – Genesis 2:8-9
This week my parents are hosting my aunt Dorothea and uncle John from England. Dorothea is my dad’s youngest sister. I’m helping out via transportation, a few meals, and general nephewness.
So Tuesday I drove them up to Richmond for lunch with Naomi and the grands, and a visit to Maymont Park. The park was a huge success, the grandchildren hammed it up for the camera, and I’ve decided I have to go back sometime soon – with my Nikon – to properly photograph the place!
What struck me about the park is the coming together of the natural beauty of Virginia’s landscape, and the creative overlay of people who work, and dream, and plant to make the landscape accessible, through the development of beautiful parks and gardens.
Privilege and Responsibility:
My faith tells me that God is the Creator, but also that God gave human beings the responsibility, the intelligence, and the imagination to take care of this good Earth. When God’s work and our grateful response come together, then the result is always wonderful.
In a couple of my books, I have defined salvation as “Getting on board with what God is up to;” 0r, “Participating in God’s ongoing work.” Romans 8 suggests that creation itself is anxious to see God’s children become more thoughtfully involved in following up on our responsibility to live as a redeemed people.
When I see beautiful landscape architecture such as Maymont Park, then I am reminded of what is possible if we – human beings – keep covenant with God rather than breaking it and pursuing our own selfish ends.
The greatest story ever told begins in a garden (Genesis), Jesus gave himself for us (and all creation) in a garden (the Gospels), then the narrative winds up in Revelation 22 with a new garden, one where we are seen as key players in “the healing of the nations.”
The angel showed me the river of the water of life, clear as crystal. The river flows from the throne of God and the Lamb. It flows down the middle of the street of the city. The tree of life is on each side of the river, and it produces fruit every month, twelve times a year. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations. – Revelation 22: 1-2
Quite often (very often, in fact), God shows me the river of the water of life, and it really is as clear as crystal. I can’t understand why it is so difficult much of the time for us to see the way of Jesus, to sort through all the destructive rhetoric, and the divisive building up of our own kingdoms, and to simply enjoy our status as a redeemed people. Because – “with eager hope – the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay” (Romans 8:21).
Just some more faith to think about – DEREK