Gardening may change the world? That’s right. Gardening. I started gardening as a hobby. It was a throwback to my childhood of raising a garden in the backyard. When Katie and I got married we rented a little house surrounded by a cornfield. We had a big garden at the edge of the field that the farmer allowed us to use. I didn’t take it too seriously and often the weeds grew better than anything else did.
A few years ago gardening started to take on a different kind of meaning. It became a spiritual discipline for me. I started to learn or re-learn things about who God is and who I am. Many of the stories in the Bible began to take on new meaning as I gardened intentionally. I connected with a God who liked to garden (my garden doesn’t have a cool name like “Garden of Eden”). I found new appreciation for my name (Adam comes from the Hebrew adamah meaning “dirt”). The parables of Jesus concerning gardening and farming started to make more sense and began to challenge some of my preconceived notions of God and of gardening. I’ve been challenged to see the Kingdom of God as a Mustard Seed movement, beginning small and allowing it to slowly, steadily take over. I’ve looked at my soil preparation in terms of preparing for deep roots and found a picture of what discipleship is all about.
One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Jeremiah 29. In a letter to the exiles living in Babylon, God instructs the people to take up residence in this new place and to seek the “peace and prosperity of the place which I have carried you.” Part of that included planting gardens and eating the produce. I have become convinced that gardening is a part of seeking the prosperity of the place I am called to live. Gardening and teaching others to garden can be a way of connecting people to the Creator and Sustainer of Life. It teaches us new rhythms to life; moving at the speed of a garden. Gardening helps us see a picture of the Kingdom of God; a Kingdom characterized by deep roots, a mustard seed’s growth, struggling with weeds, and a need for pruning and cultivation.
In April and May we’ll be “In the Garden” learning about the Master Gardener and what insights we can get from reading the Bible and gardening. Because gardening is not just about feeding my family delicious, local food. It’s really about connecting with what God is doing in the world and changing the world, one garden at a time.