Wandering around I am overcome – first by the labors of other hands. The roses are waving – fragrant hands of pink, salmon, deep red, pail pink and yellow. The climbing roses – that heretofore have only shown leaves – have blossomed, their dark red buds opening, revealing bright yellow centers. All got a severe pruning in February – but not as much I was told to prune roses in Maryland.
My black-eyed Susans are garnering strength, I hope will burst forth in warmer, drier weather, when the roses languish. My tiny new garden is flourishing; this morning I sowed some marigolds. The lavender I planted last year, and I feared was lost, is branching out. In between the multicolored roses, I planted some lilies – with another batch on the way. My favorites – the red geraniums – enjoy the warm sun. But, in a few weeks, I must find more shade if they are to survive the Texas summer. In Maryland, geraniums did well in the sun; fifteen hundred miles south and west – the rays are lethal. The squirrels may have assassinated the freesia bulbs I planted in an accommodating large pot. Fuzzy rodents!
The sprinkler system we inherited is a luxury – I watered by hand most summer evenings in Maryland – a therapy session, if you will, where I worked through the weeds in my heart and mind. Here, a simple timer turns on sprinkle heads which cover the beds and yard thoroughly. But we struggle with getting the timing and duration properly apportioned. Water evaporated quickly – but even a few extra minutes twice a day is too much for some plants, and I may have drowned the wax crepe myrtle we planted when we first moved in.
Surely God can be worshiped as well in a garden as church? I see His handiwork and my deficits clearly – He has preserved and brought forth “life” from plants that seemed fit only for discarding – and seeds that bore no resemblance to the flowers I enjoy. And my soul agrees – “How Great Thou Art!” But, singing a capella in my mind, in my garden, isn’t how the God of the Bible commanded worship.
Who is the real Gardener?
A church building isn’t better than my garden to draw near to God. Wherever and whenever I draw near to Him, He draws near to me. It’s the others who come to worship that distinguishes a building from my garden.
Staying alone in my garden would be like the roses – if they could – refusing to be pruned, watered, or insisting on shade rather than sun. It would be like the geraniums – if they could – refusing the shade I will provide when the slant of the summer’s sun scorches.
I need the care of corporate worship –sound teaching – and fellowship. Nothing magic happens there – but something supernatural does. Details after the 11:00 A.M. service.
So let's do it — full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out.
Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.
If we give up and turn our backs on all we've learned, all we've been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ's sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment — and a mighty fierce judgment it will be! (Hebrews 10:22-27 from THE MESSAGE)