I have always loved the outdoors – especially a garden and beautiful perennials. When I was growing up in Chicago, Dad put me in charge of his iris bed on the side of the house. It was filled with every color you can think of and each Memorial Day week-end, it was my job to cut back the dead blooms and then start working in the roses with Dad. He as a real specialist when when it came to roses. Dad could be found each week-end, applying rose dust or making sure that the soil was just right for the plants he tended to.
Dad would bring in fresh bouquets from the garden and they always graced our table. We also had an area of the yard that housed various kinds of ground cover and Mom would assign my two brothers and me a section of the yard that we were responsible for maintaining. I even grew vegetables and that started my love of working with the earth. Both of my grandfathers loved the soil as well. At different times, they both had gardens and knew quite a bit about the land.
When Janet and I were first married, we started our own garden and even canned vegetables each fall. We made bread and butter pickles, tomato bisque soup, various fresh beans and peas and we even made plum jam and rhubarb filling. When we moved to a larger home in Inverness, IL, we had every imaginable vegetable in a garden that measured more than 2400 sq. ft. Kristin used to help me pick strawberries and many other kinds of fruit. We grew pumpkins and squash and she had a great time helping me each weekend.
As life got busier, the garden eventually became a thing of the past and for 6 or 7 years, we lived in a home that didn’t promote having a garden. We moved and I finally had a rose garden of my own. It wasn’t large, but it was awesome – and reminded me so much of working in the yard with my father. Since then, outside gardening has been something of a luxury for me. But this year, something great has happened.
We have found someone who is a master gardener and she is as jazzed as we are about a nice yard. We are working with her to create perennial beds around the yard so we can enjoy color throughout at least three seasons of the year. It’s been something that Janet and I have missed in our lives for quite a few years. But the long wait is over – planting started yesterday and will continue on Wednesday. Hopefully, within several weeks or so, we will have the start of a cascade of color that will usher us through the seasons.
For this year, we are using annuals as well, and the splashes of color can’t help but remind me of the glory of God. Our verse for this evening is the one that introduces plants to the world. Moses, the author of Genesis, in telling the story of creation, lets us know what happened. He tells us, in Gen. 1:11-12, “Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”
My encouragement this evening is that God created the heavens and the earth, and everything in it, as a perfect place for man to be in communion with God. Sadly, after the fall in the Garden of Eden, that plan fell apart but we are assured that eventually, we will be eternally reunited with God in a new place – one that includes a perfect garden. So it started in a garden and we will live eternally in a beautiful place as well. My prayer is that you will take a moment and enjoy the wonders that God has created for all of us. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…