I came home to a 4-pack of rosemary seedlings. A present and a challenge. Reminding me of childhood, visiting my grandparents in California, where rosemary grows as fragrant hedges.
Not so in Illinois. Maintaining pots through our winters is a friendly contest. I succeeded for several years, but a costly misstep requires starting over. This year, with the gift of Amish rosemary.
Meditating on Paul’s planting and harvesting metaphor in Galatians 6, I enjoy this analogy of spiritual life. What do we gift each other? Tomato and pepper seedlings. Poems, articles, books, music, art, podcasts, concert tickets, TED talks, websites, sermon series, and authors to follow. You share your spiritual practices, ideas that excite you, and inspiration that feeds you.
All of these little plants are gifts and challenges. Each with their own niche in our spiritual garden. Some a bright insight, a pop of annual color, just right for the season. And perennials, thyme and sage renewed every spring that give flavor throughout the year.
Each plant connects me to my fellow gardeners. They enrich my personal spiritual life, drawing me into closer communion with the Master Gardener, who causes the sun to shine and sends rain on us all. Produce for us to enjoy together. I love being gifted seedlings- both spiritual and literal. And I wonder- are you also sharing with each other?
I hope so. The communal aspect of gardening is essential to our spiritual lives. We are growing different things in our individual plots, depending on our micro-climate, soil structure, gardening schedule, tastes, education, background, etc. Few of us want to eat only what we can grow; we would quickly tire of our own limitations, become malnourished from lack of diversity. Sharing feeds the giver and receiver, challenging us to try new skills and practices.
I continue to be stretched by your gifts. Checking out a book from the NCF library, writing my name and date on the little card. Searching for the T.S. Eliot poem quote referenced in meetings and blogposts. Emails that remind me that gardening isn’t just a metaphor, it is a spiritual practice. Time to close my computer and get my hands dirty.
Thank you for sharing your seedlings with me. May we notice those offering us plants open-handed. May we be bold to give what thrives for us. May we continue to plant together and share in the harvest. To the glory of the Creator who walks and talks with us in the garden.