I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;Song of Songs 5:1
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk
Over the years the garden has been a recurring theological theme in my writing. It’s kind of funny because I am so definitely NOT a gardener. I’m not so bad when it comes to helping (I follow directions fairly well and I really do feel genuine satisfaction when I have been involved in big projects such as the past couple of weeks) but I have no intuitive feel for it, and little idea what I’m doing. I’m convinced I would be hugely useless if it was just me trying to make something happen.
Yet, consistently, I always think of “garden” and “theology” in the same breath. More than once, back when Rebekah was in the process of answering a new call, I found myself thinking that a preacher’s garden might tell a lot about where they were in terms of faith. Almost as if the state of a minister’s garden reflects on their approach to the church they serve.
Currently, deep into a garden restoration project likely several years in the making, the parallels are beginning to make sense again. In our experience, congregations have responded to longterm reclamation initiatives that require deep commitment, unswerving faith, hard work, uncompromised belief, and a love for the church that not only leaves the pastor willingly exposed and vulnerable but their spouse too, nothing held back and wide open to the movement of God’s Spirit.
So, yes, there are some feelings of nostalgia this morning, seeing Rebekah prepare to lead worship. Pouring herself and her emotions into a message for the people at Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church. This is a congregation we have come to respect and to love over the past few months. We are getting to know them from the pew, and this opportunity for Rebekah to preach the word is a real privilege.
I have shared before how this particular North Raleigh church is significantly more traditional in its worship style than the congregations we have served (Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church). Yet, in every way, the authenticity of a people committed to following Jesus has shone through.
So please pray both for Rebekah and the church as she shares God’s good word with these good people. May the light and the life of the good news story shine through in every way, and may the people of Hudson Memorial be encouraged, inspired, and equipped in their commitment to live and to love in the name of Jesus.
Stay tuned tomorrow for some words about how all this went down!
In love, and because of love – DEREK