It wasn’t as we’d planned. Our house-move at age 63 was to mean downsizing to a bungalow or a neat little terraced cottage in Wharfedale. There would be a yard with – maybe – a little lawn, but we imagined a low maintenance garden with colourful pots and baskets.
Oh no. We were, instead, enticed to Brighouse and captivated by our not-very-future-proofed house on a steep hill, with a multi-level garden larger than we had before. But then, we’ve time to spend on it (where does it all go?), and Jane has embarked on a RHS course to help her plan it and care for it properly. We still have the energy to tackle it, although our backs protest more loudly with every passing year, and I’m sure the lawn mower is putting on weight. And do the grass and the chickweed grow more quickly, or am I imagining this?
Easter coincides with that wonderful time of year when the bulbs and spring flowers emerge from sleep, with every day seeing freshly emerging colour from intricately designed blooms. Some perennials are old friends, such as our hellebores which delight our eyes from late January till May. A more recent addition has been our two tiny snake-head fritillaries, with bells that are either a complex purple pattern or white, both on the same plant.
The theme of plants dying off then bursting into life has often been compared to Good Friday and Easter. As Stuart Townend’s hymn puts it,
There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day, Up from the grave He rose again
This means that the problem of my sin is utterly dealt with, and I am free to enjoy a relationship with God and to enjoy living as Jesus’ disciple. But what about our planet? Every year sees new record-breaking temperatures and CO2 levels, yet more melting of sea ice, and worse than ever flooding. Have we reached a tipping point?
The Easter message is especially poignant in our threatened world. The Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ marked the point where God broke into human history. beginning a new creation that will one day reach complete fulfilment. Whether this will mean he starts over again with our ruined world, or reshapes all that is good, I don’t know.
I suspect it’ll be both, like Jane is doing with a patch that we’ve cleared, marked out and begun to replant as a project for her course.
As Christian ecology charity ‘A Rocha’ says, ‘Yes, there is much to lament over as we cry out to God for the state of our planet. But we…also see so much evidence of nature’s resilience and ability to recover, with the right help from us and our partners…
May we turn our faces towards the risen One this Easter, looking towards the light of Christ to illuminate and guide us as we care for God’s earth together.’
I’ve just read an inspiring article about a Tearfund-inspired project in Northern Bangladesh, in a city choked by plastic waste. The community’s attitude to waste reduction, collection, disposal and recycling is gradually being transformed by a network of Youth Green Clubs. These are finding ingenious ways to reuse plastics, for example by creating plant pots and wall mats. Gardens are benefitting from composted food waste. Faith leaders are involved, although the leader, Mim, is inspired by her faith in Jesus and believes in the power of prayer. She says, “Cleanliness is a part of faith. Just as God sends his angels to bring good things for human beings, this project came to us to inspire us to do good things. It’s a blessing from God.”
At my mum’s funeral in November 2021, we heard these words from Revelation 21. In John’s vision, he hears Jesus’ voice declaring, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Our garden presents us with a visible reminder that God’s in the business of recreation.
4 thoughts on “New Life, New Hope”
Thank you. I have just been to stay with a friend who is resurrecting a neglected garden . It all speaks of the Resurrection which is always a thing of wonderful beauty.
And yesterday my reading reminded me “ “that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
This is a lovely article that reminds us of the beauty of nature, the hope of Easter, and the importance of caring for our planet. It’s inspiring to read about the Tearfund-inspired project in Northern Bangladesh and the positive impact it’s having on the community.
Easy Landscape Gardening
Thank you Eamon for this encouraging feedback.
I’ve just read your article on caring for my lawn, which I found accessible and full of wise advice.