13th June 2020

A Royal Gardener

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.”
John 15:1 (NIV)

My wife and I recently enjoyed a video in which Prince Charles showed Alan Titchmarsh round his gardens at Highgrove House. It was impressive to see how much careful planning, how much attention to detail, and how much artistic and sympathetic use of trees, plants and hedges had, after 30 years of patient work, produced one of the most beautiful and inspiring gardens in Britain.

Today, visitors can see 8 different garden areas. The “jewel in the crown” is the Sundial Garden of flower beds, clipped hedges and statues, in a harmonious blend of shapes, colours, textures and scents. Very different and unique is the Stumpery, tastefully mixing the random architecture of weathered tree stumps, branches and roots with bushes, fountains and statues. Then there is the Wildflower Meadow, which turned barren soil into a meadow rich in grasses and wildflowers, some quite rare. And a walled Kitchen Garden that produces fruit, vegetables and herbs for use in the house, but is both elegant and functional. A profusion of birds, hedgehogs, toads and snakes devour the pests and avoid the need for pesticides. And a sewage garden uses reed and willow beds to naturally filter and recycle all the waste products from the estate. But the real secret of the garden’s success lies in its devotion to feeding the soil. This is done using a blend of composted material that rots and matures for up to 6 months before it is spread on the soil.

Watching the film, I couldn’t help comparing the efforts of a royal prince with our Father’s work as the ultimate wise, patient, nurturing gardener. We are His workmanship, and, in a sense, we are also His garden. He invests all His love, wisdom and expertise in nurturing and blending us into a joyful creation that will please and glorify Him for eternity. In the verse above, Jesus called himself the true vine, and His followers the branches. But, in another sense, perhaps He can be likened to the head gardener, who uses soil, weather, and seasons to strengthen, prune and perfect us.

Prince Charles had to endure years of mockery and derision for his devotion to natural, organic gardening. But his perseverance paid off, and showed he was years ahead of his time. Sometimes we, the raw material God works with, also attract ridicule, but God knows exactly what he is doing. He has put us into the care of the best ever head gardener, and one day His amazing grace will be recognised, vindicated and widely honoured. Let’s hold onto that vision.

Great Father, as the beauty of gardens refreshes us at this time, it also shows us how much you and Jesus care about us, in nurturing and preparing us for an amazing future with you. May we never lose sight of that.

Study by Gordon Brown

About the Author:
Gordon Brown is an Elder in the London Congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International London
Indian YMCA Student Hostel
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2:30pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email: london@gracecom.church

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