Isaiah 40:28. The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.’
Isaiah 45:12 “It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it.” NIV.
As is written ‘In the beginning God created the land before He created man and woman’. How sad it feels that we humans think or even believe that the land is ours – some even believing it is their birthright!
The culture of freeing the land to return to its own natural beauty is slowly beginning to become okay with me. However, I do struggle somewhat when I visit places that once had large glass houses with prim and proper plants growing, indeed plants from around the world growing. No longer are they being grown and no longer are my senses and heart captivated by their beauty, scents, colours etc. I would never be able to see these plants if it wasn’t for their being carefully cared for, nurtured and allowed to grow (albeit in an artificial environment that isn’t their homeland). Interestingly they are built on man made foundations, unlike the natural ground crops/flowers etc are grown on and the hills and mountains are formed on, the very ground God created. As I write this I realise how selfish I am in wanting to continue to enjoy another country’s bounteous floral beauties cultivated in an environment which is not their homeland and under artificial conditions.
As with all things, transition takes time – so as I continue to frequent these botanical gardens and watch the demolition of glasshouses and the no longer straight military lines of flowers which were pleasing to the eye, I start to appreciate freedom in a way I had never envisioned before. Indeed flowers that would never have made it into the glasshouses now have pride and place to grow as they should and importantly, to me, mix and be in relationship with other flowers that once would have been impossible to cultivate together. How presumptuous it is of us to think that it is our role to separate out what we thought good or not right to put alongside others.
In the beginning, I don’t believe God would have created man to take his beautiful creation and put it into such structured boxes – do you? Is it not written to let the weeds grow amongst the good, in order that we do not pull out the good by mistake. Sorry God, we seem to have forgotten that. Thankfully, due to Your loving patience we are learning this afresh.
Finally, I love gardening programmes, and one I watched recently tested my ‘you shouldn’t’ thinking. For instance, you should not cut back the shoots and leaves of potato plants once they’ve flowered. However, if you lift the potato without doing this, the skin is thin and flakes off. The programme taught me, if you cut back the shoots and leave the potatoes in the ground the skins grow stronger and the potato will keep and store better. Amazing what you remember when you follow a tractor laden with potatoes for a few miles on a country road.
So the message I have learned is that what God cuts back can have, beneath the surface, a miraculous transformation which endures longer and is more beautiful than any human eye could predict. So today give your gratitude for all the transformation and beauty beneath the surface not just upon the land we see which God collectively created but trust that this transformation takes place in people also, beneath the surface and the beauty that lies beneath will, one day, shine up and out through the surface – maybe that’s what is meant by order, disorder and reorder not only from what I see taking place in the botanical gardens, but in life as a whole.
As I’ve added a ‘but’, which I associate with goats, let’s give gratitude to all animals that also provide their own manure and various ways of tilling the ground, those that bring air and life to the soil, those that scatter the seeds and those that pollinate the flowers and trees. Each are special and known by you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit – collectively you continue to bring life to all things and yes, all creation and creatures, including humans, are good.
Blessings and Happy Harvest time to you all.
Margaret McKinnon (Pictures by my Granddaughter, Georgia McKinnon (aged 7) whose story telling and artwork gave me the inspiration to write this article)