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Viewpoint from Colleen Palmer 02/11/2012

Dove right

Colleen Palmer

Methodist Local Preacher
Whilst working in our garden the other day it dawned upon me that we often talk about moving house but not moving gardens! Perhaps that’s because there’s not always one. I’ve moved house a few times-once there was no garden at all –not even a pot.
But what is a garden? The definition in the Chambers 20th Century dictionary is “a fertile region; a pleasant spot.” I suppose it would be true to say gardens are good for  children to create a safer space- a watchful eye can be cast on their out of doors activities.
dove leftA town school, of which I was a governor, established a sensory garden for the pupils-a marvellous idea. A place to look for worms and snails; to watch insects and birds flying around: to smell aromas of fruit and flower; to listen to chimes. A place to be and enjoy-to develop a deeper understanding of the created world.
Of course there are gardens of all shapes and sizes. There are different varieties; herb, walled, water, wild and Remembrance to name but a few. Often pleasure and work join together. My Father’s advice was, “Keep the hoe going!”
Many folk would agree with the saying, “You’re nearer to God in the garden than anywhere else on earth.” How I love the changing seasons, the growing and resting times, dormant shrubs awakening and self sets appearing. The miracle of new life. How can a seed germinate and bring forth abundant growth?
We find different references to gardens within the Bible. I love the passage concerning Mary Magdalene on Easter morning. She sees the Risen Christ as the gardener. What a lovely description of one who nurtures and empowers life in all its fullness.
The imagery of the vine with its branches, also found in St. John’s gospel in the New Testament, again reinforces the care and strength of God the son for His followers.
Autumn days have arrived and growth has slowed. A time to prune, rake and tidy. As a child I remember Father gathering together dead foliage and plants to burn-especially on my brother’s November 5th birthday.
Yet during autumn days there are new treasures to be seen: shiny conkers, startling fungi and fiery leaves. How great is our God!
We are called to be stewards of the earth, looking after our inheritance of fertile land and pleasant views. Christ’s followers are called to carry the mantle of past generations to speak and witness of God; Father Son and Spirit who danced with joy at the birth of creation.