I do not have much of a green thumb, but I am trying to develop one. Pastor Ben and I bought a beautiful green succulent plant to celebrate our marriage in 2016. During our wedding ceremony, we planted it carefully with mixed soils taken from our home states, Illinois and Idaho, and sprinkled drops of water on it. Weeks later, it shriveled and died. We are thankful that it was not (and is not) representative of our love and life together! Throughout the past three years here at FCC I have greatly enjoyed learning more about plants and gardening from wonderful members of the church who look out for our church grounds, the parsonages, and the memorial garden. I have ventured deeper into the world of gardening after my disappointing wedding cactus fiasco, and I grew 10+ varieties of garden vegetables from seeds this year during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. I was met with mixed success, but I re-discovered a love for dirt and green things.
Gardening is a job for everyone. Dan Hague lovingly looks out for plants in and around our church, and I have seen many church members such as Scribner Van Ingen, the Esmonds, the Lydeckers, the Fatherley family, and others pulling weeds in the parsonage and memorial gardens. Those who prefer not to put their hands in the dirt still enjoy and survive upon the fruits of its cultivation. The earth and its growing things touch the lives of every single person on earth. We cannot get away from the cycle of sun, rain, growth, harvest, death, and re-birth. Our own lives mimic the cycle. Even (and especially) our Bibles weave the dust of the earth and the fruit of the vine into every possible corner of the human redemption story. From the beginning we see growth and green things inseparably connected to human life, death, surviving, and thriving.
“By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread
until you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
As we discover our place in this world, we discover that none are immune to the tribulations experienced by all growing things. This Sunday I will be preaching about the symbolism of both flowering and thorny plants in the scriptures. Briars and myrtles, two plants appearing numerous times in scripture, will serve as our guides as we ponder what God has done for us in the person of Christ. Join me!