Spiritual Gardening

By Barbara Edwards

After a year of not having a garden I am so excited that I have a new garden spot. It’s tilled, raked, and planted. I started some tomatoes and cucumbers from seeds. I planted 8 seeds of each in my sunny laundry room. Five of each kind came up and flourished. As I tenderly put my babies in the ground I prayed they would be ok. I also planted seeds, beans, squash (well my husband planted those before I could). I also bought a few plants, extra tomatoes, extra cucumbers and peppers. Lastly, I planted a row of flowers against the fence.

A few days after planting, my cucumbers, my babies I had grown from seed, were literally gone – sucked back into the ground!! One of my baby tomato plants was also dwindling away but the others were holding on- would they survive? Would they grow to produce the fruit that I so wanted? Still to be determined…

Why do I tell you this? As I was thinking of this blog and my ministry at Chestnut Grove, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the seeds we plant. We are all children of God no matter what age we are. At some point our faith journey begins just like a plant from a seed. The seeds go through stages, sometimes, they stay in one stage for a while, other times they bloom very quickly. However, they need certain things in order to grow.

In the Gospel of John, the Gospel of life, the Lord Jesus said that He came that we may have life and may have it abundantly (10:10). In order to maintain this life given by the Lord Jesus, light, air, food, and water are needed. Yet even with all of these items, there is still the need of a dwelling place (15:4-5). This dwelling place is the Lord Jesus Himself. Not only is He our life, light, air, food, and water, but also He is our abode (14:23).[1]

John’s Gospel also says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

As we grow, how are we developing our ability to abide with Christ?

If we look at James Fowler’s stages of faith development it is clear that raising a child of faith is hard work.  In the nursery (stage-1) we teach our babies to trust that their mommies and daddies will come back for them. We teach them that church is a safe place and we show them love so that they might learn to love Jesus. It is a basic starting point- but a critical one. If we look at stage 2 we see this is where a child imitates parental behavior and attitudes about religion and spirituality.  Are we being good models for our children?  Remember those cucumbers that got sucked back into the ground? I couldn’t help but think maybe I did not tend to them the way I should have.  I have regretted not taking more opportunities to share my own faith with my children and to use everyday moments to instill how much God loves them. I have clearly failed at this many times – parenting is hard work!!

As children grow they hear stories, they learn to believe in God and to believe in His divine power.  They learn to listen to others and to understand moral values. We have awesome teachers in our Sunday School formation classes and Extended Sessions that share stories and teach children about God each week.

We have all been planted, watered, given light and roots. It is good to stir up the soil, re-till, rethink, reteach, pick the fruit from what has been planted and grow anew.  Keep planting! Keep growing! Keep glorifying Christ!

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

*The focus of our children’s ministry is on Pre-Stage – Stage 2Picture1

[1]Lee, Witness. Christ Our Portion, (taken from https://www.ministrysamples.org/excerpts/THE-LINE-OF-THE-SPIRIT-IN-THE-GOSPEL-OF-JOHN.HTML)

 

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