During that day’s cool evening breeze, they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden; and the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God in the middle of the garden’s trees. The Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” – Genesis 3:8-9
One key question, in maintaining any kind of a decent garden, has to be, “Can you get good help?” Fortunately here at Maul-Hall we have a gardener in residence who – although limited by a compromised back – brings enthusiasm and vision and a dogged, “I’m going to work out here even if it hurts” determination that gets renewed and then some every springtime, when the combination of this sense of invitation, and possibility, and absolutely marvelous raw material is simply too compelling to resist.
Kind of like the reason – the reasons – Rebekah and I first came to Wake Forest, eight years ago, to explore the invitation, and possibility, and marvelous raw material here at WFPC.
Fundamental faith question:
But this idea of “good help in the garden” is probably the most fundamental question associated with faith. It is the foundational condition of humankind as told so pointedly, and poignantly, in the Genesis story that features Adam and Eve.
God created this magnificent world pregnant with promise and possibility, rich with resources, exploding with expectation. People – bearing the image of God – were imagined, fashioned, and then set here in this good soil with the expectation that we would “garden”.
But we have thwarted God’s purposes from the beginning, and we have not been “good help.” We not only hide from the presence of God (just like the first residents) we have failed to tend the garden.
[Mary Magdalene], supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” – John 20:15
This is why, when Mary mistook the risen Jesus as The Gardener, it is quite possible she was not mistaken at all (thanks to John Fawcett for that thought). Would that we all take on the role of gardener when it comes to preparing, planting, tending, harvesting, and caring for this Good Earth.
If we are called to follow Jesus and to be the presence of Christ in the day to day world, then maybe we should be mistaken for gardeners too?
“The Earth is the Lord’s,” Psalm 24 tells us, “and all its fullness…” Once we understand our relationship to that truth, then maybe we will do a better job of taking care of it.
We could start by not hiding any more – DEREK