The Sacrament of Gardening

Sacraments blend the physical world with a spiritual reality. Baptism is the dying of the old and the rebirth of a new life under God’s rule. The breaking of bread and consumption of wine and bread remembers the death of Jesus and the life he imparts to his united Church. These sacraments lend a glimmer of the holy to dull, everyday activities.

As part of his plan to redeem our world, God is interested in converting far more than bread, wine, and pools of water into holy portals. Far from being locked up in a church until he’s brought out for Sunday morning play time, God wants to be on the prowl with us, sharing each moment and adding his own unique message and blessing. I had this sense while digging weeds out of our flower bed.

I don’t necessarily garden because I love plants. I enjoy pretty flowers around my house as much as the next guy, but I dug huge flower beds for a more practical reason: reducing the hard areas to mow. By digging out several tight corners and dumping in flowers I made it that much easier to chop down our lush two acres of lawn.

Despite my questionable motives, I’ve grown attached to our flower beds and recently found the mass invasion of weeds in our backyard bed a nuisance. While praying on the back deck and surveying the civilization of weeds that sprouted amidst the blue, yellow, and red flowers—don’t ask me the actual names of these things—I sensed that a little sacrament was in the works.

The frantic pace of my life was allowing all manner of weeds to grow, and I haven’t taken time for regular spiritual maintenance. By weeding the garden I gave my mind a rest, stepped back from all of the household projects demanding my attention, and let God begin his work on my life again. Each chunk of weeds I dug out was in itself an act of repentance, recognition that all in my life is not how it should be.

Julie stepped outside, looked over the clean, freshly mulched bed, and exclaimed, “You’ve been working really hard on this.”

“No,” I replied, “I was just resting.”