Sunday, September 04, 2011

The God Who Makes Things Grow

I am ashamed of the state of my garden. I am equally ashamed of the state of my house (bar the kitchen that I cleaned on Friday night) but the pigsty nature of the house remains concealed behind brick walls, whereas the garden is open to all who pass by. I feel sorry for my neighbours who have to live next door to my wilderness. I wouldn’t want to live next door to me.

My shame provoked me to do something about it. Mowing the grass was always going to be a challenge. Too much rain, too long a time since I had last mowed the lawn left a lot of work for the mower. I wouldn’t have dared use an electric mower even had I possessed one. I had visions of electrocuting myself with all that water and electricity. It was me and a cylinder mower against the grass!

To mower spoke the long wet grass
“No matter what – you will not pass!”
But long wet grass could not evade
The slash and slice of mower’s blade

It took longer than I had anticipated. I am one of these I’ve-started-so-I’ll-finish people. Leaving the lawn half mowed was just not an option.

It is brown bin day tomorrow and the grass cuttings filled the bin a third of the way up. It seemed a shame not to present a full bin for collection, so I started weeding the flower beds. I use the term flower bed loosely seeing as there are rarely flowers in them. Once the daffodils and tulips have had their day, the weeds move in and stake their claim to the soil. They party well into autumn as I rarely get the time or the weather to evict them.

So, the two flower beds by the front door were cleared and the bin was about half full – still too empty.

They could have been buttercups – some long tall relations to the smaller lawn variety. I sensed them trying to duck out of sight at the bottom of the garden. They flaunted thorns in an attempt to scare me off, but I got them in the end. The bin was almost three quarters full but still too empty.

Joe hacked at overhanging branches from a climbing rose in the back garden and scraped away the moss on the flagstones of the patio. And the bin was full.

The garden still falls short of the standards of just about every other garden in the street, but it is a vast improvement.

I was reading 1 Corinthians 3:5-9

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labour. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”

I thought for a while about the God “who makes things grow” – can I blame God for my garden chaos? Probably not.

What came to mind was the morning spent with our church family. We had a really laid back time of fellowship over tea and croissants. The conversation meandered through a lot of topics that you couldn’t exactly label as religious, but were about daily life. Advice was sought by some and offered by others. We shared history together.

Throughout the whole time there was planting going on and watering happening in a very casual and informal manner as people exchanged ideas and experiences. One person might have had a little more insight into one area of the conversation, but everyone had the chance to plant into and to water each other’s field.

God, who makes things grow, was present in the conversations and I look forward to seeing just what grows over the days, weeks and months ahead.

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