The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
Or : gardeners on vacation.
Sowing in the world
During three weeks traveling on the other side of the planet, meeting movers and shakers and putting on a real show, I sowed seeds of hope in a God of love everywhere I stayed. It was awesome, but I have to be honest, I was so glad to get back home!
It grows all by itself!
I went into my back yard, the place where I love to pray – and that I love to take care of too. Surprise surprise: the garden has descended into chaos! Weeds have taken hold in the good soil! The entrance is half-blocked by branches and other bits of trash. Aggressive plants (the ones that prick you on purpose) are stretched out, enjoying the sunshine. (hey! That’s my spot!) Of course, no vegetables have emerged!! (okay, I hadn’t actually sown any, but hey...)
What if the same thing happened to our secret garden, every time we neglected our time with the divine gardener?
Entropy in the second law of thermodynamics
(Umm...one of those laws of nature, you know). Goodness must be nurtured, evil, on the other hand... there’s no need, just by doing nothing, everything always goes downhill.
When on vacation
If you come across a magical place where the grass caresses the soles of your feet, it’s because Someone has poured their energy into looking after it, watching over it, blessing it by removing stones, nettles, trash, bits of broken glass, anti-personnel mines. Lastly, He waters it.
You’ve been had
Letting gloomy thoughts, unbelief, a ‘me, me, me’ attitude, obsessive feelings of guilt and ‘who cares’ sprout in your head is so easy, requiring no effort at all... It’s so much easier to sink back into depression or dependence than to get out of it... that’s why we need to be on our guard. Less effort is needed to get out of a recently acquired bad habit rather than one that’s really taken root...
In every aspect of our lives – our marriages, families, church lives, jobs, friendships – everything – the same principle applies.
Congratulations to those who pick themselves up - who attend church regularly in order to give of themselves (as welcomers, to listen to others, to share with others...), support their neighbour (‘even’ when it’s not a Sunday), get up early in the morning to serve their family breakfast, give their wives flowers (or a 12 inch wrench to their husbands), who do their utmost to see the best in those around them and who speak well of others instead of gossiping, who put up with those who write comics and who live in Saint-Imier (I’m not thinking of anyone in particular), who get up early because they want to spend time with God, who... who... (well...I’ll let you come up with the next 50 examples...)
The gardener who can bless your circle of friends and family and colleagues is you. No-one else will do it for you... The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2 verse 15)
To cut a long story short, I mowed what passes for the lawn and we had a barbecue.