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Back to the Garden

by | Jan 31, 2023

Take me back to the garden
Lead me back to the moment I heard Your voice
Take me back to communion
Lead me back to the moment I saw Your face

Our church family has been singing this song called “Communion.” It keeps going through my head, and I’m so thick I don’t realize until I’m writing this blog entry that God is calling me back to communion. This isn’t about gardening? 

If it was, it would be about my mother. Beautiful things have always grown around her. Brown Eyed Susans. Lavender. African Violets. Tomatoes. Basil. Potatoes. Garlic. I never understood. Gardening was sweaty work under the merciless sun. But she loved it, and the earth responded to her joy by growing whatever she asked. 

I’m sorry if this embarrasses you Mom, but your work in the hot sun allowed a really special thing to happen. 

During my college years, our family lived on a small piece of property in a developed neighborhood. Mom’s garden in the front corner of the lot was behind the neighbor’s arborvitae, which he used to block out any annoying connection he might be asked to have with humanity. Didn’t bother us. Behind the arborvitae, it was magical. Soft Nikon filter. The entrance to the garden was framed by tea roses and an enormous lemon balm. Mom taught me to pick its leaves on a summer night and brew a relaxing tea with honey. 

I know, get to the point. Roses and bloomy things.

But you also need to know that there were no windows on that side of our house. Just the garden, the arborvitae, a tall pine tree, and me. It was an accident – maybe – I realized one night that no one could see me in that one Blind Spot. But I could see the sky, the stars. It was a place to look Up and breathe. And I began to feel God’s presence for the first time and long for Him. He must have been pulling me closer because there, beside my mother’s garden, hidden by trees and vinyl siding, I felt Someone smile right into my face. 

Jesus knelt down in a garden to pray. As the terrible weight of His sacrifice for humanity began to crush Him, He was so distressed that He began to sweat blood. If you find yourself intensely distressed, I hope it comforts you that the Son of God has been there.

God placed Adam and Eve in a garden. Imagine wandering with Jesus every evening, chatting about the day. Maybe that’s what heaven will be like. Maybe that’s what this song means – take me back to the garden. Perhaps it’s a glimpse of God’s heart, that He wants that communion with us over and over, listening to stress and distress, quieting our hearts with His love. Blind spots can be hard to come by, especially if most of your life is spent in traffic, at a changing table, in a classroom… But the Maker can make one anytime, anywhere. He surprises us. 

Father, please invade my consciousness. Make me aware of you. Help me be still in relentless noise and find moments to look Up. Help me please to see you in people’s faces and to lean on you in distress. Find me when I least deserve it. I love you and long for you still.

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