If last week’s gardening hymns were “songs of innocence,” hopeful songs of unrealized possibilities, this week’s hymns are the “songs of experience.” In Matthew 13’s parable of the wheat and the tares, Jesus tells about a garden that’s been sabotaged with weeds. But in an act of mercy, the garden’s owner lets the weeds grow along with the grain until harvest time.
I hear this parable as a call to discernment amid uncertain circumstances. Even if we fancy ourselves among the wheat in the parable, very rarely will we find ourselves in unadulterated good soil. Often we’ll find ourselves rubbing shoulders with the tares, or sometimes turning into tares ourselves. Trusting that our heavenly Gardener has things under control, our job is to strive to further his kingdom here on earth, however imperfectly, until it ultimately arrives in all its glory.
Today’s hymns are about that experience of living in two worlds at once -- our earthly home, and the imminent kingdom of God that keeps trying to make itself seen. Whether we’re singing an English harvest hymn that’s become a Thanksgiving standard, a Spanish hymn of discipleship, a contemporary Irish praise song, or a Welsh prayer for vision, we ask that God might be revealed ever more fully in our own lives.