Holy Week hovers on the horizon of our lives in the week to come. We will find ourselves in two gardens. The first garden: The Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus kneels in desperate prayer, then is seized by his destiny as betrayal sets him on the final steps of his human journey. A journey that will lead him to a hill named Golgotha where a cross waits for him. The journey does not end there. Rather the path of Jesus’ life descends into a second garden. The Garden of the Tomb where an ending becomes a new beginning with the miracle of resurrected life. The Garden of the Tomb is transformed to become the Garden of Resurrection, of rebirth, of new life as first witnessed by an astounded young woman, Mary Magdalene, the first witness to the reality of resurrection of the larger life we know as Christ.
The backdrop to both stories is the vision of the Garden of Eden in the Genesis of humankind’s relationship with our Creator and all of Creation. A relationship broken in the very beginning by humankind’s disobedience and efforts to hide from God’s sight and providence. The harmony of the created order of God’s desire for how the Creation would live together was broken at the very beginning by the human beings separating and distancing themselves from their Creator's will and relationship with Him.
We have been trying to return to the harmony and peace of that place ever since.
At the crux of this story of return is the cross on Golgotha. The vision forward is gifted to humankind in the Garden in which Jesus’ tomb waited to serve as womb of rebirth – the Garden of Christ’s resurrection and the promise of ours.
Julie Moir Messervy, an internationally known garden landscape designer, opines that whenever we try and create a garden, we are trying to recreate Eden, to seek and find that original harmony and peace.
There is something about a garden that always seems to mysteriously call out to our human longing for peace and harmony, for rest and that mysterious connectedness but deeply desired connection with all of life and with all of life’s Creator. A garden seems to offer a place where heaven and earth may come together for us. The beloved hymn, In the Garden, offers the vision of Jesus, the doorway of new life, waiting there to sit with us, be with us, talk with us, love us into connection with Him and through Him to our Creator and all Creation. Our journey through Lent, through Good Friday to Easter morning is a journey of reconciliation. It is a journey through brokenness, through what appears to be final death then to restoration, renewal, rebirth, reconciliation with life, a "begining again." This is the vision of resurrection offered by Christ's journey, a vision offered to our life by his life.
May we find the strength, the courage (the heart strength) to travel through the Gardens of Gethsemane in our lives, through and beyond the tomb like times of life. To be re-birthed, re-newed. To wake up to Easter times waiting for us and find ourselves in the son-lit Garden of Peace where the resurrected Christ waits to greet us. Where He walks with us, and He talks with us, and simply loves us into new and continuing life.
By God’s Amazing Grace, let it be so.