Before God made man he made him a garden, including fully formed fruit trees. It was to be the perfect place for social interaction, first of all with his Creator, then all those animals he was told to name, and finally, with the woman of his dreams. It was an ideal place for God, man, and his wife to converse while taking an evening stroll through the garden of Eden.
Problems came but gardening continued in spite of weeds, thorns, and hard ground as families learned to work together in less than ideal conditions. Today, sweat equity stocks the pantry and freezer and freshly furnishes a well laid table at mealtime. We all benefit from the ground.
Over the last few months, while respecting physical distancing, Donna and I have enjoyed many social engagements afforded to us by gardening. It started with helping an Indian family across the street redesign their floral island in their front lawn. That was worth five afternoons of mentoring and friendly chats. Another neighbour came over to borrow a soil sieve which led to a visit a few days later. Then a pastor's wife needed a few trees and bushes pruned and that included an afternoon snack and a most enjoyable visit on her back deck. Lately a valued congregant that lives in a basement suite near us, started a plot in a section of our garden. How many visits will that yield over the coming months as relationships form?
God took dirt and formed the first man. God continues to use dirt to form relationships and teach us many transferable principles. Many of Jesus' parables used agricultural illustrations. He prayed in a garden and it certainly is a great place to meditate. A garden is a wonderful place to dig into God, cultivate community with others, rake over personal issues, and plant biblical disciplines. Get some ground and try it! It'll grow on you.